Secretary General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars Attacks New French anti-Separatism Proposals
Senior figures at the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) have continued to condemn the French government for its policies on separatism; which seek to encourage integration and counter-extremism. On his Facebook page, the group’s Secretary-General, Ali Al-Qaradaghi, has posted a call in Arabic opposing an addition to the “anti-separatism” bill that would ban certain religious practices in university corridors. In February, Policy Exchange reported on an IUMS communiqué, in which Al-Qaradaghi called on the French government to stop interfering in Islamic affairs, and on scholars in France and elsewhere to reject racism and religious discrimination against Islam and its followers.
In his new post, Al-Qaradaghi stated that he did not know the “secret” behind this “irrational rush of inflaming disputes”, but asserted that such measures “encourage mutual extremism”. Adopting the language of universal rights, he claimed that the proposed measures contravene the bill of human rights, arguing that they open the way to oppression of religious rituals. Al-Qaradaghi added that the French Government’s approach undermines the three basic principles upon which France was founded—”freedom, equality, and fraternity”, by “directly violating the citizens’ right to life, spreading hate speech, and restricting freedoms”. In Al-Qaradaghi’s view, this policy is part of what he refers to as a set of racist laws targeting Muslims in France, imposing restrictions on all aspects of their lives.
Al-Qaradaghi asked the people of France to reject “provocative decisions and positions that do not support peaceful life in France …”, and addressed politicians “in the free world” and the French National Assembly (parliament) calling on them “to stand against the addition to the bill, in order to preserve the [three] principles and to preserve the citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and practices”.