Saturday, April 7, 2007

Will Sarkozy & France Lead Europe Around the Muslim Minefield

The more I hear of France's presidential front runner, Nicolas Sarkozy, the more I like him. In addition to the fact that he is only second generation French, appearing politically correct - whether it be from his support of the U.S. to his views on Islam inside France - is not what drives this man.

The rising tide of influence by radical Wahhabi / Salafi Islam is a concern to all of Europe, not just France. Though France, with its huge and restive Muslim population, has particular problems. (See here for a good essay on this from 2005 by Harvard Prof. Jocelyne Cesari.) Sarkozy is acknowledging the problems and proposing at least some small steps to address them in what seems an intelligent and thoughtful manner.

French presidential front-runner Nicolas Sarkozy has backed off his proposal to modify French law to allow state support for mosques, but said in an interview he wants to keep Islam in France "cut off from foreign influences."

Sarkozy, of Jacques Chirac's ruling conservative party, has upset many in fiercely secular France by questioning the 1905 law separating church and state.

He suggested it be modified to allow public financing of places of worship, specifically mosques, to better integrate the estimated 5 million Muslims in France, which is historically Roman Catholic.

. . . Still, he said he wants to "cut off France's Islam from foreign influence, whether it is financing of places of worship or training of imams."

Read the entire article here. Perhaps if he is successful, it will drive the rest of Europe to likewise acknowledge and address their similar problems before it becomes too late.

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