France will no longer accept new “seconded imams” from January 1, according to Darmanin

France will no longer accept new “seconded imams” from January 1, according to Darmanin

France will no longer accept new imams “detached”that is to say sent by other countries, from January 1, affirmed Friday the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin in a letter to the countries concerned by the subject.

After April 1, 2024, seconded imams still present in the territory will not be able to remain there “under this status”he adds in this letter that AFP was able to consult.

Three-year “notice”

At the beginning of 2020, Emmanuel Macron announced his desire to end the reception of some 300 imams sent by various countries (Algeria, Turkey, Morocco, etc.), and to increase at the same time the number of imams trained in France. “We are working on the end of seconded imams in 2024”had specified the then Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner.

Recalling this ” prior notice “ of three years, to give mosques and States time to organize themselves, Gérald Darmanin insists Friday on the calendar: the decision “will effectively apply from January 1, 2024”. This means in concrete terms that from this date France “will no longer accept new seconded imams”.

“Specific framework”

As for those who are already there, they will have to change their status: from April 1, a “specific framework” will be put in place to allow associations managing places of worship to recruit imams themselves, whom they will directly employ. The goal is not to prevent foreign imams from preaching in France, but to ensure that none are paid by a foreign state of which they are a civil servant or public agent.

On the other hand, the arrival of“Ramadan imams”these approximately 300 chanters and reciters who go to France during the blessed month for Muslims, is not, “not questioned”according to this missive.

At the same time, emphasis is placed on the need for “increasing share” imams officiating in the territory are, “at least partially, trained in France”. This requires developing training and the State wants to “attentive” what an offer “respectful of the laws and principles of the Republic” expands quickly. Beyond religious training, it is also about supporting imams’ access to university training, such as those launched in 2023 by the French Institute of Islamology for example.

Measures against “foreign influences”

Determined to fight against “Islamist separatism”Emmanuel Macron announced in February 2020 a series of measures against “foreign influences” on Islam in France, ranging from seconded imams to the financing of mosques.

To better organize Muslim worship, a Forum of Islam in France (Forif) was also launched in February 2022, with field actors supposed to better represent the country’s second religion. But this body is struggling to establish itself in the fragmented landscape of Islam in France.

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