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CAIR Condemns President Macron’s Attempt to Dictate Islamic Principles to French Muslims

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/19/2020) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned French President Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to dictate the principles of the Islamic faith after he issued an ultimatum to French Muslim leaders to draw up a charter in 15 days that would falsely state that Islam is an “apolitical religion.” 

Macron has given the French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM) two weeks to draw up a charter of “republican values” that must include a statement that Islam in France is a religion having nothing to do with politics. 

[NOTE: CAIR and other American Muslim organizations and institutions are actively involved in promoting Muslim civic engagement and political participationSEEhttps://muslims.vote/ American Muslim voters and candidates were active in the recent state and national elections.] 

SEE: Macron gives French Muslim leaders 15 days to ‘admit’ Islam is an ‘apolitical religion’ 

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2020/11/19/macron-tells-muslim-leaders-to-prove-islam-is-apolitical

Macron tells French Muslim leaders to produce charter of ‘republican values’ 

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/france-macron-islam-ccfm-imam-training-charter

In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:    

“The French government has no right to tell Muslims or any other religious minority how to interpret their own faith. President Macron must reverse course before his nation returns to the colonial racism and religious bigotry that haunted so many European nations for centuries. President Macron is turning ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité’ into ‘repression, inequality and division.’ 

“Although France claims to uphold religious freedom, the truth is that French Muslims do not have the First Amendment protections enjoyed by people of faith in America. It is therefore our duty to speak out in defense of their religious rights and freedoms.”

He noted that CAIR recently issued a travel advisory warning American Muslims against traveling to France amid the French government’s “hypocritical and dangerous” campaign of Islamophobic bigotry targeting French Muslims, mosques and Islamic organizations.   

SEE: CAIR Warns American Muslims Against Travel to France, Condemns Macron’s ‘Hypocritical’ Attempt to Suppress Boycott Campaign 

In October, the Washington, D.C.-based civil rights organization also called on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIFR) to investigate France’s ongoing campaign of “collective punishment” against the French Muslim community, as well as France’s longstanding history of turning anti-religious bigotry into government policy. 

SEE: CAIR Calls on U.S. Religious Freedom Commission (USCIFR) to Probe France’s Anti-Religion Laws and ‘Collective Punishment’ of French Muslim Community 

BACKGROUNDER:  

Over the past 20 years, France has implemented numerous laws designed to limit and punish the free exercise of religion, especially among Muslims. France has banned students, teachers, and public servants from wearing visible signs of their faith, including hijabs, at school or at work.    

French law also forbids people from wearing religious face veils in public, while simultaneously requiring them to wear medical face masks. Muslim women in some areas of France have also been fined by police for wearing full-body swimsuits.       

President of France Emmanuel Macron delivered a speech about the French Muslim community in which he claimed that ‘Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today, we are not just seeing this in our country’ and has expressed concern of ‘Islamic separatism’ and called to ‘liberate’ Islam.      

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.     

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.     

END     

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw, 202-999-8292, rmccaw@cair.com  

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