Macron promises 'framework and rules' for Islam in France


French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said work would start soon on "a framework and rules" for Islam in France.

In his annual policy address to a joint session of the French parliament, Macron said that France "has no reason to have a difficulty with Islam, any more than with any other religion." But, he said, "there is a radical, aggressive reading of Islam that aims to question our rules and laws as a free country and society whose principles do not obey religious watchwords."

French governments have for years puzzled over how to deal with the growing popularity of hardline interpretations of Islam in poor suburbs with large populations of immigrant origins. The question has become all the more urgent with attacks by Islamist extremists that have cost 245 lives since 2015.

But France's strict law on the separation of church and state and the lack of any religious hierarchy in Sunni Islam, have made it difficult to come up with any organisation that could act as an Islamic religious authority.

Macron said that "the immense majority" of French Muslims approve of a secularism where "society and the state respect believers and believers respect society and the principle of a state that belongs to everyone." "That is why, starting in the autumn, we will clarify this situation by giving Islam a framework and rules guaranteeing that it will be practiced everywhere in accordance with the laws of the republic," he said. "We will do it with the French people who belong to this religion and their representatives," he promised.    (dpa)

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