French Interior Minister Opens Consultations with France’s Muslims

Paris, 27 Dzulqa’dah 1437/29 August 2016 (MINA) – French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Monday kicked off a round of consultations with representatives of France’s large Muslim population in the wake of growing racist and Islamophobic attacks against Muslims here and legal wrangles over access to beaches by Muslim women, KUNA reported.

Last week, the French Council of State institution, which rules on the legality of local laws, stuck down decrees banning thousands of Muslim women from French beaches if they were attired in traditional Islamic bathing costumes.

The Council of State ruled that the Islamic bathing attire was not a threat to public security but a lot of damage was done as police on some southern French beaches were seen ordering Muslim women to remove their Islamic headdress or leave beaches because of their bathing costumes.

Cazeneuve, who is discussing this and other issues with Muslim representatives on Monday, said that the Council of State ruling was in line with “constant jurisprudence” and defined clearly the “condition in which fundamental freedoms can be restricted” in case of a threat to public order.

The bathing costumes were found not to present such a threat and what has been known here as the “burquini” issue is over for the time being.

But the Muslim leaders here are also concerned about the growth in anti-Islamic sentiment and acts in the wake of the terror attacks claimed by so-called Islamic State in 2015 and 2016 in which over 230 people died and hundreds were wounded

France has over five million Muslims living here and Islam is the second religion in this country, but Muslim representatives complain that they do not receive consideration in line with their large number and importance here.

Out of the five million Muslims in France, police say only around 3,000 are believed to have any links, either active or in a support context, with terrorist networks or those supporting IS in Syria and Iraq. ( (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)