France plans mosque funding foundation to stop radicalisation from abroad

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Source: The Guardian

A new foundation will be created to help finance mosques in France in an effort to prevent the funding of places of worship by radical overseas benefactors, the French Muslim council has said.

Anouar Kbibech, the head of CFCM, proposed that the foundation could be used to fund the construction and running of mosques, paid for by fees from the halal food sector.

France, which is home to the EU’s largest Muslim community, prohibits the use of state funds for places of worship. The prime minister, Manuel Valls, has said he wants to stop the financing of mosque construction from abroad.

Kbibech said on Monday: “Almost all Muslims of France are attached to a serene, open, tolerant Islam and they are fully respecting the values and laws of the republic.”

The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said he wanted the foundation to be launched in October.

The debate about mosque funding was revived by the killing of a priest at a church in Normandy last week by two followers of Islamic State. It has been suggested that overseas influence over certain mosques could encourage the radicalisation of worshippers.

Cazeneuve said 20 Muslim places of worship had been shut down in recent months due to extremism. “There’s no room in France for those who call for and stir up hatred in prayer rooms or mosques, and do not respect the principles of the republic,” he said.

He added that the government was working on a way to guarantee “total transparency” in the financing of the mosques while at the same time strictly respecting the secular principles of the republic.

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