Call to licence Muslim leaders, to weed out extremists

The largest group representing French Muslims has called for imams to be given a certificate "like a driving licence" to preach after being tested for extremism.

The French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM) is spearheading efforts to counter jihadist propaganda amid renewed scrutiny on mosques following the Paris attacks.

Several of the Isis gunmen who killed 130 people in massacres across the capital were French citizens who were radicalised at home.

Anouar Kbibech, president of the CFCM, said imams should be given a certificate "like a driving licence" that ensured they promoted a "tolerant and open Islam", AFP reported.

He did not say whether he thought the process should be obligatory but added: "The time for action has come. The Muslims of France will play their part."

The proposed system would test applicants on their theological knowledge and adherence to French values before making them sign a charter agreeing to adhere to French law.

The CFCM is also planning a "religious council" that would challenge jihadist ideology using theological arguments.

As France's state of emergency continues, authorities have been launching a crackdown on suspected extremists in raids across the country.

A man said to practice an ultra-orthodox version of Islam has been jailed after 70 police stormed his home in a village in the Pyrenees region as part of the sweeps.

Do you think there should be licensing for religious leaders?

This poll ended on 09 December 2015.

Current Results

Yes. They need to ban the extremists

7%

No. Church and state should remain separate

34%

Yes. And it should apply to all religions

57%

No. It is not necessary at all

0%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The Police Judiciaire said Olivier Corel was detained for questioning on Tuesday and jailed for illegal possession of a hunting rifle.

Authorities believe the 69-year-old, who is of Syrian origin, lodged Fabien Clain, who is reported to have recorded Isis' French-language claim of responsibility for the Paris attacks.

Clain was convicted for involvement in a network sending extremist fighters to Iraq in 2009 and is also believed to have known Mohammed Merah, who killed a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school, and three paratroopers in southern France in 2012.

British imams have also been urging people to defy intolerance of all kinds after a rise in Islamophobic hate crimes in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Qari Asim, the imam at the Makkah masjid in Leeds, appealed for Muslims to report such incidents to police and for all "members of society to stand up for people when they see intolerance".

He added: "Terrorists want to create division between communities, they want people to live in fear and have mistrust between them and that plays into their hands."



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