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France

French Muslim group draws up imams' charter to fight radical Islam

media A ceremony in homage to the victims of the Paris attacks on their anniversary last year Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

The French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM) has published a charter regarding the role of imams in society in a bid to stamp out radical Islam.

The document which all practicing imams, or religious leaders, will be encouraged to sign, recognises the values of the French republic and promotes tolerant Islam.

The charter project was established in the wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks.

One of the values referred to in the 12-point charter is secularism, the separation of church and state which was invoked when religious symbols were banned in state schools. 

France is home to five million Muslims and Islam is the second religion practiced in the country. 

There are around 1,800 imams in France, mostly working part-time and unpaid. 

Around 300 of them are on detachment missions from Algeria, Morocco and Turkey. 

Some mosques in France have come under fire for allowing the proliferation of fundamentalism and radical rhetoric. 

"The charter was set up to promote a religious discourse in line with a middle ground Islam, respectful of republican values," said CFCM president Anouar Kbibech. 

A clause guaranteeing good theological training will be added to the charter at a later stage, he said.

The charter has been met with little enthusiasm by various groups representing Muslims in France, including the Grand Mosque of Paris and the Union of French Islamic organisations(UOIF). 

Kbibech insists that their concerns have been taken into consideration.

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