France may temporarily ban foreign funding for mosques

The French Prime Minister says he is considering imposing a temporary ban on foreign financing for mosques. Under part of the potential 'new model' Imams will be trained inside France, not outside.

People pray in the Yahya mosquee on July 29, 2016 in the Normandy city of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, western France where a priest was killed on July 26.

Following a series of terrorist attacks, the French government is likely to impose a temporary ban on the foreign funding of mosques under a proposed ‘new model’.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the proposed ‘new model’ will usher in a  new era of relations with Islam where the Imams should be “trained in France, not elsewhere.”

In an interview with the French daily ‘Le Monde’, Manuel Valls said, he was "open to the idea that -- for a period yet to be determined -- there should be no financing from abroad for the construction of mosques."

He said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is working on building a "new model" for France's relations with Islam.

"We need to reset and invent a new relationship with Islam in France," Valls said.

People boo French prime minister Manuel Valls, center, and Health Minister Marisol Touraine, left, after a minute of silence on the famed Promenade des Anglais in Nice, southern France.

The French premier and interior minister are under severe criticism for their responsibility in numerous security lapses. Critics are asking for the resignations of the French PM and his interior minister.

France has witnessed a number of terrorist attacks recently including the latest on a church in the Normandy town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray where an 86-year old priest, Jacques Hamel, was killed.

Two weeks after the Nice attack where 84 people were crushed to death with a bus, terrorists succeeded in executing another attack but this time the target was a church.  

The church attackers were on the intelligence watch list and both had attempted to travel to Syria.

The government has been criticised after the revelations that one of the assailants, 19-year-old Adel Kermiche, was recently released with an electronic tag. He was allowed by the court to visit home on weekdays.

French PM Valls acknowledged Kermiche's ease of movement and said,it was a "failure, it has to be recognised", adding that judges needed to take a "different, case-by-case, approach, given the jihadists' very advanced concealment methods".

But he said it was "too easy to hold judges responsible for this act of terrorism."

Police and rescue workers stand at the scene after two assailants had taken five people hostage in the church at Saint-Etienne-du -Rouvray near Rouen in Normandy, France, July 26, 2016.

France is home to around five million Muslims, one of the largest Muslim communities in Europe and has over 2000 mosques.

Local media in France reports that some mosques have been financed by Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and some North African countries.

Muslims around the world are critical of the French government for many policies they deem to be anti-Muslim, like the ban of head scarves in schools, and veils in public.


AP, TRTWorld and agencies