France Has Millions of Muslims. Why Does It Import Imams?

State secularism works in funny ways.

State secularism works in funny ways.

By Kamel Daoud / Jan. 28, 2019 / NY Times

We have “the separation of Church and State”, the French have “laïcité”. Here’s a fascinating article about applying the principles of a secular Republic in the modern globalized world that is full of Faiths.


PARIS — What to do about Islam in France? Considering Islamist terrorist attacks, communalism and the international manipulation of Muslim communities, the matter is pressing. But it’s contentious, because managing Islam seems to go against laïcité, France’s staunch version of state secularism, and a 1905 law that mandates the separation of church and state.

Wouldn’t revising that law be an admission that secularism is bowing to Islamism? On the other hand, if the law isn’t revised, or if the French state cannot find other ways of monitoring and steering Islam, then Islam in France risks falling under the control of foreign states or the influence of radicals. That is already the case, actually: Since laïcité prohibits the French authorities from using public funds to build mosques or train imams, Algeria, Morocco, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have stepped in. According to the newsmagazine L’Express, 70 percent of imams practicing in France are not French.