Emmanuel Macron, President of France, caused a stir some time ago during his three-day visit to Denmark and Finland. In Copenhagen on August 29, he declared that there is no such thing as “a true Dane,” no such thing as a “true Frenchman.” He was widely criticized for this remark at home. What could he possibly have meant?
But let’s back up. Macron began last February by talking grandly about his intention to create an “Islam of France.” He promised he would roll out his plans after Ramadan ended in mid-June. In early July, in the pages of Le Monde, the plan drawn up by Macron’s collaborator Hakim El Karaoui, was published. It provides for the creation of an association managed by French Muslims that will train and pay the imams in France (no longer would they be trained abroad or paid by foreign Muslim groups or states), pay for the building and maintenance of mosques (thus replacing foreign governments), and manage communication between organized Islam and the state.
The most important part of Macron’s plan was the proviso that the mosques and the imams’ salaries would be paid from taxes both on halal food products, and on pilgrimages to Mecca. This plan was hailed by a few Muslims, but denounced by many others as an unacceptable interference by the Infidel state in the practice of Islam. Several months later, the plan has still not been implemented in the slightest way. What is Macron waiting for, or has he simply gotten cold feet? Or have very deep-pocketed Muslim states, with tens of billions of dollars in properties and investments all over France, such as Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Qatar, managed to get to Macron and explain that they might sell off some of those investments if the French state arrogates to itself the training of imams, and the financing of mosques? Whatever has been said behind the curtains, it appears that Macron has put his ballyhooed plans on hold. Islam in France is not yet becoming an “Islam of France.”