Agence France-Presse, January 21, 2021
Three Muslim groups refused on Wednesday to back an anti-extremism charter pushed by French officials following a spate of jihadist-inspired attacks, dealing a blow to a flagship initiative of President Emmanuel Macron’s government.
The charter rejects “instrumentalizing” Islam for political ends and affirms equality between men and women, while denouncing practices such as female circumcisions, forced marriages or “virginity certificates” for brides.
French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), a body set up almost 20 years ago to enable dialogue between the government and the Muslim community, broadly welcomed the charter and five of its eight federations signed on Sunday.
However, the other three groups said on Wednesday they could not join their colleagues.
A government source said the groups’ refusal would not weaken the process, adding that “the masks are coming off.”
“An important clarification is being made,” the source said. “We see who is capable or not of signing a charter that simply recalls the values of the Republic and in particular the values of liberty and freedom of conscience.”