One of France’s Muslim leaders lobbied at the National Assembly for the introduction of a “religious council” charged with developing a French Islam using “fatwas” adapted to the local context. Mohamed Zaidouni, President of Brittany’s chapter of French Regional Council of the Muslim Faith, a branch of the CFCM, spoke to the investigation committee in charge of monitoring jihadist networks. The CFCM needed to be allowed to “sparkle,” he declared in front of deputies, proposing to adopt a “religious council” charged with the exegesis of religious texts. Mohamed Zaidouni is also a prison chaplain in a Rennes jail and suggested that the religious council issue fatwas. Zaidouni believes this will help curb extremism because many French youth adhere to the fatwas issued by foreign religious figures who are not familiar with the local context.
“They are unchanging rules, but adapted to the situation,” he said, believing for example that such a body could understand and thus legitimize the ban against the veil in public schools. The CFCM is currently working to create the council, which would bring together the country’s leading theologians. “To unite France’s Muslims, we must introduce them those who are credible,” he said.
The government is working to host a council aimed at reforming the CFCM, which has never successfully established itself since its creation in 2003. Proposals are aimed at enlarging and diversifying its composition and will be agreed upon before Ramadan on June 17.