Back in January there was a big fanfare over the “anti-extremism charter” that French President Emmanuel Macron was asking all Muslim associations in France to sign. The charter was devised at Mr. Macron’s request by the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), which acts as the umbrella organization for all Muslims in France.
However, not all Islamic groups were willing to sign the infidel pact (see this article for more on the controversy). One of the dissenting organizations was Millî Görüs, the “Islamist” Turkish federation.
The expansion of the Eyyub Sultan Mosque in Strasbourg has caused controversy because it is managed by Millî Görüs, and was recently offered a €2.5 million grant by the Green mayor of Strasbourg to help with the construction.
Below is a segment from a French talk show about the Strasbourg mosque. Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
Strasbourg mosque: EELV is lodging a complaint of defamation against Darmanin and Schiappa
A standoff pits ministers against the Green mayor of Strasbourg after the vote on Monday by the municipal council on the “principle of a subsidy” of €2.5 million earmarked for the construction site of the Eyyub Sultan Mosque.
March 27, 2021
Photo caption: The Grand Mosque of Strasbourg under construction
Europe Ecology Greens [Europe Écologie Les Verts, EELV] announced Saturday its intention to bring a complaint for defamation against ministers Marlene Schiappa [Citizenship] and Gérald Darmanin [Interior], who oppose the Green Party mayor of Strasbourg concerning a possible subsidy for the construction of a mosque.
“In accord with the executive bureau and Jeanne Barseghian, the mayor of Strasbourg, EELV will lodge a complaint for defamation against Marlene Schiappa and Gérald Darmanin,” declared Julien Bayou, national secretary of EELV, in a statement to the federal council, of which Agence France Presse has obtained a copy. “We have taken the decision yesterday (Friday) evening and the complaint will be lodged during the course of next week,” stated the head of the Greens.
“Gérald Darmanin, the ‘minister of school lunches’, has accused the majority EELV, led by Jeanne Barseghian, of financing foreign interference on French soil. Its delegated minister, for his part, stated that EELV made a pact with ‘radical Islam’. The issue: The adoption on Monday of a subsidy for the construction of a mosque,” declared the national secretary.
According to Jean Bayou, “We have a government and its minister of Interior and Religions who lie. He never alerted the mayor of the danger that the association carrying out the project represents. For us, it is clear: If this association is dangerous, let him close it. That the ministers use and abuse the means of public power to smear their political adversaries for purely electoral reasons and/or to create a diversion and try to divert attention from their failures and their shortcomings, we cannot accept that,” noted Julien Bayou. “That the ministers, rather than do their duties, prefer to play ‘community manager’ or hired gun for Macron is unacceptable!” he added.
A standoff pits Gérald Darmanin against the Green mayor of Strasbourg, after the vote Monday by the municipal council on “the principle of a subsidy” of 2.5 million euros for the construction of the Eyyub Sultan Mosque, being carried out by a Turkish association, the Islamic Confederation Millî Görüs (CIMG). “We feel that this collective (the Town Hall of Strasbourg) should not have financed foreign interference on our soil,” the minister of the interior said Wednesday.
|00:00||And we return to the controversy about the mosque in Strasbourg with a view from Elisabeth Lévy.|
|00:09||Hello, Elizabeth. —Hello, Cécile. Hello, everyone.|
|00:12||So the construction of this mosque in Strasbourg is controversial;|
|00:15||we discussed it just now with Olivier Faure, also the boss of the PS [Socialist Party].|
|00:19||Actually, it’s not a construction, it’s an expansion|
|00:23||of the Eyyub Sultan mosque; I’m not sure how to pronounce it.|
|00:27||The work began in 2017 and has been at a standstill for several months due to lack of funding,|
|00:34||caused by disputes between Ankara and Millî Görüs, one of the two federations of Turkish Islam|
|00:40||that manages this mosque. So what’s so controversial?|
|00:43||Patrick, you said it is the subsidy of €2.5 million|
|00:46||out of the entire sum of €32 million, which was voted on Monday by the municipality, uh sorry,|
|00:53||the ecological municipality, sorry, LV, and there was this tweet|
|00:56||by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin,|
|00:59||who was indignant that the municipality was financing a federation that said it refused to|
|01:04||sign the charter of the principles of the Islam of France and defends political Islam.|
|01:09||He had therefore asked the administrative court to stop the subsidy.|
|01:14||So, in reality, we probably legalized this financing.|
|01:18||First, because Strasbourg has this arrangement,|
|01:21||and therefore the law of separation does not apply.|
|01:24||And then the exterior tactic, ulterior, pardon me,|
|01:27||also allowed the public financing of the mosques. The separatism law was not yet voted on anyway.|
|01:34||It doesn’t prohibit foreign financing; it only asks for more transparency.|
|01:39||—Yes, so the minister, Gérald Darmanin, is wrong when he wants to go to court?|
|01:44||—Legally, it’s probably a mistake; I’m not a lawyer. But it is politically right.|
|01:50||If we want de-Islamization, the opportunity to build the largest mosque in Europe in Strasbourg,|
|01:55||which already has a large mosque, is quite debatable.|
|01:59||It has 14 floors, two minarets 36 m [118 ft] high, thirty domes.|
|02:03||It’s a big… it’s a big project. There must be a research center.|
|02:07||Just joking. Well, this project is, at the least,|
|02:10||ostentatious and also reflects a cultural struggle for control by the Franco-Turkish.|
|02:15||So then, regarding the Charter of Islam, these two federations|
|02:19||didn’t sign it, and have effectively blocked|
|02:22||on two points, which were not defined well enough, political Islam and foreign management.|
|02:28||These two points are questioned and fought against by Turkish Islam.|
|02:31||These two things go together,|
|02:34||since they diffuse political Islam, according to their Erdogan, in France.|
|02:37||In fact, one could speak about double separatism. Religious, cultural and national separatism.|
|02:43||—What does that mean? What are you saying? —Well, let’s just say, it is when we help young Muslims|
|02:48||not to live according to the morals or values of France. Erdogan, he doesn’t hide it.|
|02:55||Assimilation is a crime; the Turkish diaspora is his army and the mosques its bases.|
|03:01||It should be added that today anti-French propaganda is very active among the Franco-Turkish.|
|03:06||There are squads of internet users who disinform, who invent constant proofs of our Islamophobia.|
|03:12||For example, circulating rumors that Muslim students are profiled.|
|03:16||And it works, even among young graduates.|
|03:19||Erdogan is a hero. You have undoubtedly seen his initials|
|03:23||on the walls, and those are these initials.|
|03:26||Although they’re French, many young Franco-Turks identify as Turkish first.|
|03:30||It’s a self-identity problem which worsens in a period of crisis.|
|03:35||I believe that the law, even this law of separatism,|
|03:38||which isn’t the actual name, cannot change that.|
|03:41||First of all, the most important thing — it’s a little like China,|
|03:45||as your guest said — is to pursue a policy|
|03:49||of national strength toward Turkey as well as within France|
|03:53||to lead a long-term political and cultural fight.|
|03:56||Yes, thank you, Elisabeth Lévy, we’ll discuss this controversy|
|04:00||with you in the news at 8:45am. Till then.