Keyword: islam

Islam's place in France is hot issue of right-wing presidential primaries

The main rivals to become conservative Républicains party's 2017 presidential election candidate have clashing ideas over an increasingly tense national debate on Muslim identity in France.

The hurt and anger caused by French mayors' burkini bans

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France’s Council of State will on Friday announce its judgment on whether the ban of the burkini, recently applied by a number of mayors of coastal towns in France, is legal. The bans, imposed mostly in south-east France and amid the backdrop of recent Islamist terrorist attacks, supposedly target the full-body swimwear worn by some Muslim women. But the prohibitions also exclude dress that might threaten “public order”, and there was uproar this week after several reported incidents of police patrols intercepting Muslim women wearing headscarves on the beach. Carine Fouteau analyses a controversy that not only encroaches basic human rights, but which also has played into the hands of the Islamic State group which was behind this summer's terrorist attacks in France.

How Balkan dervishes have survived centuries of turmoil

By , and Simon Rico
Long history: the dervish Murtazar from Melan in Albania. © Laurent Geslin Long history: the dervish Murtazar from Melan in Albania. © Laurent Geslin

They form a variety of different, disparate groups, some living in the middle of cities, others taking refuge in mountainous retreats scattered around the Balkans. But all practice the mystical Islam of Sufi religious orders, seen as a “heresy” by followers of rigorous Sunni orthodoxy from the Gulf states. Jean-Arnault Dérens, Laurent Geslin and Simon Rico look at how the Balkans' dervishes have managed to survive to this day, faced with the various challenges posed down the centuries by empire, nationalist upheaval, orthodox Islam, communism and atheism.

Tariq Ramadan: profile of a Muslim bogeyman in France

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Seeking French nationality: Tariq Ramadan © Reuters Seeking French nationality: Tariq Ramadan © Reuters

Every few years France gets swept up in a controversy over Tariq Ramadan. And since 1995 much of the French establishment has vilified and shunned this Muslim preacher, writer and academic, whom they suspect of advocating radical Islamism and sectarian views. Now the Swiss-born intellectual with Egyptian roots is seeking French nationality in a move that is likely to provoke yet another row. Mathieu Magnaudeix profiles a controversial figure who is almost impossible to classify.

Terror attacks heighten French tensions over signs of faith at worklplace

France's brand of secularism coexists uneasily with Islamic traditions, making workplace negotiations on religious practice especially difficult.

France bans three Islamic organisations

Government spokesman said the groups, which ran a mosque shut down after the Paris terrorist attacks, were 'clearly taking action to incite jihad.'

Patchy success for France's 'open mosques' weekend

Though mosques throughout France are inviting non-Muslim neighbours in, it is unclear how many mosques in Paris are participating.

French Muslims who swap 'heathen' France for Egypt

By Adama Sissoko
One of the French Muslim families who have moved to Cairo. © Adama Sissoko One of the French Muslim families who have moved to Cairo. © Adama Sissoko

They are French, Muslim and living in Egypt. Several hundred Salafists from France have chosen to live in this “Islamic land” because they no longer wish to stay in their country of origin, a “land of disbelievers” or heathens where they feel it has become impossible to practice their religion as they wish. They are not jihadists and have come to Egypt in search of their Islamic identity. Yet for many this is proving harder than they thought. Adama Sissoko reports.

French Muslim calls on peers to stop terrorism

Bassem Braiki tells fellow French Muslims 'the solution will come from us' in an emotional video that has gone viral in France.

In France, post-Charlie Hebdo debate hits new level of vitriol

Many members of France's intelligentsia and political class are now at each other’s throats in aftermath of January's terror attacks.

France's 'spirit of January 11' or the ghost of a unity that passed

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Manifestation du 11 janvier 2015 à Paris. © Thomas Haley Manifestation du 11 janvier 2015 à Paris. © Thomas Haley

Following the January 2015 terror attacks in and around Paris which left 20 people dead, including the three gunmen, there were huge marches held across France to express public outrage over the events. On Sunday January 11th, an estimated four million people took to the streets of the country’s major towns and cities, with an estimated two million in Paris alone. The French government, and in particular Prime Minister Manuel Valls, has since coined the phrase ‘the spirit of January 11’, using it repeatedly as a rallying call for national unity, notably as it drove through its recent law to introduce mass surveillance powers for the security services. But the recurrent references to what was a remarkable day have now turned sour, amid a heightening debate, as critics on the Right and Left accuse the government of attempting to invent a false conception for cynical political gain. One of them is Christian Salmon, a writer and researcher with the Paris-based Centre for Research in the Arts and Language. In this opinion article he argues that the ‘spirit of January 11’ has “evolved into a confusing scrum, a macabre dance with a cortege of grimacing masks, heroic posturing and denunciations”.

France to double number of Islamic university courses

Prime minister Manuel Valls says improving home-grown Islamic education is essential to defeating the ignorance that fuels extremists and far right.

Teacher quits French school over ‘insidious Islamism’

But colleagues of teacher at Muslim faith school at Lille in north France signed a joint communiqué attacking his 'slanderous lies'.

The 'culture of violence and resentment' that fuels French jihadists

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 © Reuters © Reuters

The shooting attacks in Paris last week claimed the lives of a total of 17 victims and ended with the deaths of the three gunmen. The outrages, perpetrated by Islamic extremists and which began with the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine before the separate murders of two police officers and the executions of four hostages in a Jewish supermarket, have opened a vast societal debate in France. There have been comparisons made with the 9/11 attacks in the United States, questions raised about the true significance of the national unity displayed during last Sunday’s huge marches in defiance of terrorism, about the real extent of integration, and stigmatization, of the French Muslim population, and why the jihad increasingly lures some young French citizens. In this interview with Joseph Confavreux, Olivier Roy, a recognised expert in France and abroad on questions of Islam and religious fundamentalism, discusses these and related issues, and highlights the taboos that cloud an effective analysis of the events.

Charlie Hebdo massacre: the dilemma for French Muslims

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As the first cracks appear in the “national unity” urged by President François Hollande, the spotlight has been turned on the reaction of French Muslims. Ahead of Sunday's 'Republican march' to show solidarity over the Charlie Hebdo killings, the far right and sections of the Right have called on France's Muslims to condemn the massacre publicly. On the Left, opinions are divided on the issue. Mediapart's Hubert Huertas argues that we are faced with two very different visions of France – one that demands assimilation, the other that embraces diversity.