Europe 1 was able to consult the unpublished document on the French government’s Islam reform. The initiative is the product of a project directed by Hakim El Karoui, a specialist in Islamic history, for the Montaigne Institute. President Macron had previously promised Parliament that “this autumn, French Islam will be reorganized.”
The first proposal concerns the financing of Islam: it advocates establishing a type of central control that directs financial flows and donations, similar to “Tracfin islamique”, the structure in place to fight terrorism, fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing. This structure would join with the future Association for the Financing and Support of the Muslim Faith (AFSCM) that the major mosque federations pushed for and launched in early July.
This document also insists on increased control and regulation of tour operators that organize pilgrimages to Mecca. Currently, the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in France publishes an official list of about forty accredited French travel agencies annually. However, many of the agencies act as subcontractors and are not controlled by the consulate.
The report also advocates for the taxation of halal products, an industry that counts for five to six billion euros in turnover each year in France. The implementation of this tax would be led by a new institution charged with organizing and financing Islam: the Muslim Association for Islam of France (AMIF). This could be the most difficult to implement, according to Islam specialist Bernard Godard, who says it “it might pose a problem, but is possible.”
Finally, the report points to the risk of the “Islamization of Muslims” and references the UOIF, the Union of Islamic Organizations in France (also known as Muslims of France). The report describes it as losing momentum, locked in ideological rigidities while maintaining a discourse of victimization.