France/full veil ban – Istres mosque/gunshots
Paris, April 26, 2010
In the framework of the consultations on the draft bill on a general ban on concealment of the face in public places, Prime Minister François Fillon had a meeting today, Monday, 26 April, with Michèle Alliot-Marie, Ministre d’Etat, Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice and Freedoms, and a delegation of the French Council for the Muslim Faith (CFCM – Conseil français du culte musulman) led by its president, Mohammed Moussaoui.
After reiterating that the Republic guarantees the freedom to exercise religion and ensures freedom of conscience, the Prime Minister reaffirmed that, in the face of the development of behaviours which tend, by voluntary or forced concealment of the face, to cut the people concerned off from the other members of society, it was the public authorities’ responsibility to guarantee respect for the basic imperatives for “living together”. He said these imperatives are an essential component of human dignity and rooted in the social contract underpinning our Constitution.
The Prime Minister and CFCM delegation stressed that the vast majority of French Muslims are very committed to practising their faith and living their spirituality with due regard for the Republic’s law and values. The Prime Minister emphasized the need to avoid the conflation and prejudices which give a distorted picture of French Islam.
The Prime Minister also told the CFCM delegation and, through it, all the members of the French Muslim community, of his great shock and his support following the gunshots fired last weekend at the Istres Mosque.
Finally, the Prime Minister confirmed that a working meeting is to be held with the CFCM to discuss all the issues and projects of interest to France’s Muslim community./.