Sarkozy seeks to cut French Islam from foreign influences

4th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 4, 2007 (AFP) - Rightwing presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday that if elected he would promote the building of new mosques and take steps to cut the dependence of French Islamic bodies on foreign support.

PARIS, April 4, 2007 (AFP) - Rightwing presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday that if elected he would promote the building of new mosques and take steps to cut the dependence of French Islamic bodies on foreign support.

"What good is it to tell our Muslim compatriots that they have the same rights as everyone else, if they're forced to pray in cellars and garages," he said in an interview with La Croix newspaper.

"The problems of terrorism occur in the cellars and garages -- not in the Grand Mosque of Paris or Lyon. And I also want to cut the Islam of France from foreign influences, whether it's for the funding of places of worship or the training of imams," he said.

As interior minister for four of the last five years, Sarkozy set up the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM) -- the first officially recognised Islamic body in French history.

He also supported changes to France's 1905 law separating church and state in order allow local authorities to build Muslim places of worship. However his proposal triggered bitter opposition from secularists and he told La Croix he would only proceed on the basis of consensus.

France's main Islamic groups are dependent on support from countries including Morocco, Algeria and Saudi Arabia because they lack the means to provide their own mosques or training-colleges.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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