FaithWorld

French religious leaders warn against divisive Islam debate

March 30, 2011
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(Abderrahmane Dahmane displays green star to protest against France's Islam debate, March 29, 2011/Gonzalo Fuentes)

The leaders of France’s six main religions warned the government on Wednesday against a planned debate on Islam they say could stigmatise Muslims and fuel prejudice as the country nears national elections next year. Weighing in on an issue that is tearing apart President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party, the Conference of French Religious Leaders said the discussion about respect for France’s secular system could only spread confusion at a turbulent time.

The UMP plans to hold a public forum on secularism next week that critics decry as veiled Muslim-bashing to win back voters who defected to the far-right National Front at local polls last week and could thwart Sarkozy’s reelection hopes in 2012.

Stressing that faith should foster social harmony, the religous leaders said the debate could “cloud this perspective and incite confusion that can only be prejudicial .”

“Is a political party, even if it is in the majority, the right forum to lead this by itself?” they asked in the rare statement (here in French).

Amid the heated debate over the issue, a lay Muslim politician caused a stir by suggesting Muslims wear a five-pointed green star to protest against what he called persecution recalling that of wartime Jews forced by the Nazis to wear a yellow Star of David. “This fascist climate evokes the sombre history of the Occupation in France, which sent thousands of Jews by train to the death camps,” said Abderrahmane Dahmane, who was fired as Sarkozy’s advisor for diversity issues this month after criticising the UMP debate.

Richard Prasquier, head of the Jewish umbrella group CRIF, called the green star idea “totally grotesque.”

Read the full story here.

See also: Islam emerges as divisive issue in French local polls campaign.

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Comments
3 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

How is it divisive to search for the truth?

If the search asks questions for which there are uncomfortable answers and contradictions, then who has the problem? Why does the left-wing media make the interrogators look like criminals instead of the criminals they are interrogating. Is it because it upsets the media’s delusions about Islam and it’s too uncomfortable for them to face up to it, no matter how many times they chant the tired mantra “Islam is a religion of peace”?

Based on the news, it seems Islam is the “religion of pieces” as its purported adherents go around the world, blowing themselves and everyone around them to pieces.

Posted by jimmy37 | Report as abusive
 

France is a country which traditionally prides itself on its Human Rights record, but here members of the government are yet again, inciting the flames of hatred by denying the Muslims of France, their right to religious freedom. I wholeheartedly agree with the protests against this debate and am delighted to see members of different faiths uniting to protect religious freedom.

Posted by SabinaKhan | Report as abusive
 

This is a great opportunity for Muslims to engage in the debate and explain to French public the beautiful teachings of Islam.

It will be wise to remove various misconceptions about Islam and explain the peaceful message given in the Qur’an.

For example the verse 60:9 commands Muslims to extend virtue to those who do not bear enmity.

The verse 5:9 enjoins to be just and fair even to the enemy and not to respond to his foul act with a foul act.

The verse 4:37 commands good treatment of everyone, from one’s parents to every human being, so that peace is established in the world

So please instead of protesting, this this opportunity to explain to everyone the message of peace given by Islam.

Posted by Umme_Ammara | Report as abusive
 

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