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Macron tackles “a little too complacent” communities

President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday supported his Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, who accused the Strasbourg city hall of “financing foreign interference in France”, deploring “communities that may be a little too complacent”. “There is the existence of constituted groups, the existence of political groups on the European continent, which are themselves, today, activated by bodies of official propaganda”, affirmed the president in response to a question on Turkey’s “interference” during a speech from the Elysee Palace.

“Sometimes they get involved in our elections, other times they get involved in the financing of associations. We have seen it again in recent days with the legitimate alerts made by the Minister of the Interior with regard to some communities territorial, perhaps a little too complacent “, he declared at the end of a European Council. The president was alluding to the funding by the municipality of Strasbourg of the construction of a mosque supported by a pro-Turkish association called Confédération Islamic Millî Görüs (“National Vision”, in Turkish), which gave rise to a standoff between the Minister of the Interior and Mayor EELV, Jeanne Barseghian.

An association which “is not respectful of the principles of the Republic”

Gérald Darmanin, who underlines the “political Islam” of Millî Görüs, said to have warned in January “local elected officials” and “services of the prefecture of extremely strong interference attempts” in France, “in particular on the part of Turkey “. In a letter addressed to Emmanuel Macron and made public on Wednesday, the mayor of Strasbourg refuted any “warning”.

For their part, the LR presidents of the Grand Est Region and of the European Collectivity of Alsace (CEA) declared that they were not in favor of the financing by their community of the mosque construction site. “Today, I have no file, no request” from the Islamic Confederation Millî Görüs, but “in any case we will not support the construction of this religious building”, the president of the Regional Council of the Grand Est, Jean Rottner, in Mulhouse. Millî Görüs “claims” not to have signed the charter of principles for Islam in France, (which affirms the “compatibility” of the Muslim faith with the Republic), and “that bothers me”, continued Jean Rottner.

“I had alerts from Gérald Darmanin (…) on January 15 when he came to Alsace,” said Frédéric Bierry, president of the European Collectivity of Alsace (CEA), for his part. on 1 January merged the departmental councils of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin. Without going “precisely into detail”, the minister stressed that the association carrying the project “was not respectful of the principles of the Republic”, added Frédéric Bierry.

“I will not be personally in favor of financing this project if we were asked”: “Public Finances would legitimize” then “a movement to the right of Erdogan which today despises democracy and despises France”, declared Frédéric Bierry. The prefect of Bas-Rhin, Josiane Chevalier, also said on Wednesday that she had alerted Jeanne Barseghian to this project.

France’s Charter of Islam criticized

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The president of the Islamic Confederation Millî Görüs France, Fatih Sarikir, considered that Gérald Darmanin made “ambiguous and inaccurate remarks by accusing us of making political Islam and of being pro Turkish”. He recalled the “reluctance” of several regional councils of Muslim worship (CRCM) and “hundreds” of mosques facing the Charter “in its current state”, ratified “only” by five of the nine federations of the French Council of Muslim worship (CFCM).

The Strasbourg city council voted on Monday on the “principle of a subsidy” of 2.5 million euros intended for the construction of the Eyyub Sultan mosque. A payment which must be the subject of a second vote and remains conditional on the presentation by Millî Görüs of a transparent financing plan.

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