The main intermediary between Islam and the government in France has announced it is working on a “common training programme for imams” and a “plan of struggle” against radicalism, a week after a teacher was beheaded in the country.
French president Emmanuel Macron has promised a further crackdown on extremism after the gruesome murder of Samuel Paty, a teacher who had shown pupils cartoons of the prophet Mohammad as part of a class on freedom of expression.
The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) said on Saturday it is “aware of its responsibilities” and “intends to participate in the re-foundation of the Muslim faith by taking into account its cultural and social implications”.
Mohamed Moussaoui, CFCM president, said in a statement the group will develop a plan to fight against radicalism and extremism “to immunise the French youth against the propaganda of preachers of hatred and division”.
Authorities in France have been grappling with Islamist extremism for years, and the murder of Samuel Paty near the school where he worked in the commune of Conflans Saint-Honorine, northwest of Paris, has reignited a heated debate in the country.
Following the murder, the Cheikh Yassine Collective – a pro-Palestinian organisation which Macron said was “directly implicated in the attack – was shut down by authorities, and a mosque in the northeast Paris suburb of Pantin to close for six months.
Some have accused the government crackdown of being disproportionate and dangerous.
Paty, 47, a history and geography teacher, was beheaded on Friday 16 October after he showed pupils cartoons that had been printed and republished by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which itself has been the target of terror attacks multiple times.