Friday, 28 October 2011

The newspaper La Marseillaise has published extracts from a secret report on Islam in Marseilles. Written by the French domestic intelligence agency in March this year, it dwells on the phenomenon of street prayers but has plenty to say about Islam in the city more generally. The date and the theme of street prayers suggest it was inspired by Marine Le Pen's campaign on the issue around that time.

If individuals who have been radicalised to the point of supporting the jihadists are rare, fundamentalism has progressed to the point where it has won over the majority of the Muslim population.

The report talks about a specific mosque associated with the Comoran community.
"This mosque only wants to be Comoran, an Islamic locale imprinted with tribalism....It is clear this site is a direct obstacle to the proper integration of Comorans in the Marseilles area, a kind of voluntary marginalisation."

The Koran school associated with it is also criticised:
"far from awaking spirituality and minds, it closes them even further into a cultural loop and thus increases their communitarian inwardness."

It is fairly scathing about the city's Muslims generally, describing them as follows:
"marginalised population, poorly informed, uncultured and with a limited understanding even of their own religion, finding themselves in the hands of self-proclaimed imams, barely more competent than their flocks but sufficiently charismatic to obtain their blind obedience."

The report also calls for fewer mosques.
The large number of prayer rooms in Marseilles is in large part the reflection of the divisions of all the orders, sect-based, as well as of the nationalist, ethnic, and even business perspectives that set Muslims in Marseilles against one another. The solution proposed is to "reconcentrate the places of worship" which would "allow a professionalisation of the imams, economies of scale and would force the federations and sects towards a consensus and would marginalise extra-national interests, also facilitating relations and observations with our institutional partners. Not more mosques but better mosques."

There is a warning against construction of a grand mosque, however:
"This structure dominating a whole residential sector which is also not very elevated, visible from most of the surrounding main roads and performing the call to prayer with a luminous signal, is generally considered aggressive to the point where a local referendum on the subject would give results at least equivalent and perhaps more emphatic than the voting organised in the Swiss confederation last year."

The report says that building new mosques is only a solution if their architecture is "discreet" in order to limit "their visual impact on the urban landscape".

The Muslims seem to want the state to intervene in religious matters:
"It is interesting to note that the majority of Muslims find it natural for a state to organise religious practice, with strong measures if necessary, and that many of them even declare that they do not understand the neutrality of France in this matter."

The example of Algeria is cited where the government "dictates the Friday sermon to all the imams in the country and sends observers ... who have the power to shut it down in real time if necessary."

Source: La Marseillaise


oldschooltwentysix said...

Very off topic, but could you tell me hoiw you format the quotes like you do. I want that for my blog. Thanks!

Cheradenine Zakalwe said...

I use software called Artisteer to generate the blog template.

oldschooltwentysix said...

Thanks. Like your blog! Mine is still in creation stage, but you are welcome to visit. :)

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