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Fédération Nationale des Musulmans de France

By:
Annie Krieger-Krynicki, Laurent Bonnefoy
Source:
The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World What is This? Provides comprehensive scholarly coverage of the full geographical and historical extent of Islam

Fédération Nationale des Musulmans de France

Founded on November 30, 1985, “to act officially for the Muslims in France and to protect them,” the Fédération Nationale des Musulmans de France (FNMF) is governed by the Law on Associations of 1901. Upon its foundation, it registered with the French branch of the Muslim World League (Rābiṭat al-ʿālam al-Islāmī).

The federation was started by a French convert to Islam, Daniel Youssof Leclerc, who was also president of Taybat (Ar., ṭayyibāt, “excellent things”), a group committed to a more rigorous standard for the production and sale of ḥalāl meat than that practiced by the Paris mosque. This mosque has traditionally been led by an Algerian imam, who alone has had the authority to control the slaughtering of animals. The FNMF has contested this authority and, more generally, the leadership of Algeria over Muslims in France. Consequently, it sought to create a more independent association and gathered associations headed by French converts, Moroccans, and Turks.

The organization's main object is to coordinate the actions of the numerous Muslim associations (in 1985, they represented one hundred associations; twenty years later, they claimed to have five hundred member associations) that constitute the FNMF, to assure their defense if necessary, and to facilitate the practice of the faith in a non-Muslim country. In 1993, Mohamed Bechari became president of the federation. This date coincided with the FNMFʾs growing links to the Moroccan government. Gradually, it lost its independence and became a kind of religious instrument of Morocco to control its nationals residing in France, many of whom are active in Muslim associations.

In order to strengthen its position, the FNMF took part in 1990 in the Conseil de Réflexion sur lʾIslam en France (CORIF), created by the French government as a representative of French Muslims. This initiative, as well as a second one taken in 1993 (but from which the FNMF excluded itself since the Paris mosque was over-represented), failed, but a third project was launched at the end of the decade. It led to the creation of the Conseil Français du Culte Musulman (CFCM) in 2003. Its members, as well as the twenty-five regional councils, were elected through ballots organized in 1,200 mosques. The FNMF won the most votes among the different federations (particularly the Paris mosque and the Union des Organisations Islamiques de France), with 34 percent, and got sixteen of its representatives elected to the forty-one-member council. Mohamed Bechari was then named vice-president of the CFCM. During June 2005, the second victory of the FNMF was considered as yet another sign of the capacity of the Moroccan consulates to control significant proportions of mosques and Muslims across France.

During the same year, tensions appeared inside the FNMF, especially between Bechari and Abdallah Boussouf, “rector” of the Strasbourg mosque, which accused the federationʾs president of mismanagement. The FNMF's internal difficulties greatly affected the CFCM, and in June 2006 some of Bechariʾs opponents created a new institution, the Rassemblement des Musulmans de France.

See also CONSEIL FRANçAIS DU CULTE MUSULMAN; CONSEIL NATIONAL DES FRANçAIS MUSULMANS; FRANCE; and UNION DES ORGANISATIONS ISLAMIQUES DE FRANCE.

Bibliography

  • Fredette, Jennifer. Constructing Muslims in France: Discourse, Public Identity, and the Politics of Citizenship. Temple University Press, 2014. Find it in your Library
  • Deltombe, Thomas. Lʾislam imaginaire: La construction médiatique de lʾislamophobie en France, 1975–2005. Paris, 2005. Find it in your Library
  • Kepel, Gilles. Les banlieues de lʾIslam : Naissance dʾune religion en France. Paris, 1987. Find it in your Library
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