Imams to Be Offered University Training in French Law, Civics, History and Culture

December 8, 2004

Source: The Guardian,11882,1368735,00.html

On December 8, 2004 The Guardian reported, "Muslim prayer leaders in France are to be offered university training in French law, civics, history and culture from next autumn as part of a bid to build a moderate 'French Islam' that respects human rights and the Republican code, the interior minister said yesterday.

The courses, available initially at two university campuses in Paris will be accompanied by intensive French language lessons if necessary. Both current and future imams will be encouraged to enrol, Dominique de Villepin said in a newspaper interview.

'Today, of the 1,200 imams who practise in our country, 75% are not French and one-third do not even speak our language,' Mr de Villepin told the daily Le Parisien. 'This is not acceptable. In France we should have French imams, speaking French.'"