A dispute has flared up in France over the funding of a project for a mosque in Alsace. The Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, made accusations against the Strasbourg Municipality on Tuesday night and complained about the funding for the construction of a mosque by the Islamic association Milli Görüs.
The city hall is funding a mosque represented by an association that defends political Islam, Darmanin said on Twitter. According to the AFP news agency, the city council had previously approved a building subsidy of over 2.5 million euros for a mosque run by Milli Görüs.
At the heart of the dispute is the so-called Charter of the Principles of Islam in France. This charter opposes the political instrumentalisation of Islam and emphasises the compatibility of the religion with French principles, such as the separation of church and state. Darmanin criticised Milli Görüs for not signing the document. As AFP reported, the mayor of Strasbourg, Jeanne Barseghian, suggested making the signing of the charter a condition for the money to actually flow. Before this happens, another vote is pending, she said.
Following attacks in the previous year, President Emmanuel Macron called on all Muslim associations to commit to the Republic in the fight against Islamism. The umbrella organisation Conseil francais du culte musulman (CFCM) then issued a new basic charter. Some statements in the charter, however, “offend the honour of Muslims” and have “an accusatory and exclusionary tone”, according to a statement by some associations at the time, which did not want to sign the charter.
The charter stipulates, among other things, equal rights for men and women and the “compatibility” of Islam with the values of the French Republic. At the same time, the association rejects the “instrumentalisation of Islam for political goals”.