Reuters has reported that a Moroccan-backed mosque network has come in first in Sunday’s elections of France’s Muslim Council (Conseil Français du Culte Musulman – CFCM). The Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF), the Muslim Brotherhood in France, placed second. The According to the report:
Elections for France’s official Muslim council on Sunday put a Moroccan-backed mosque network on top in a poll overshadowed by a boycott by its former leaders from the Algerian-backed Paris Grand Mosque. The Rally of French Muslims (RMF) took 43.2 percent of the vote, ahead of the Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF) at 30.2 percent and a Turkish mosque network at 12.7 percent, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) announced. Various local groups made up the rest of the field. The result put the RMF, which enjoyed strong support from Rabat during its campaign, in a strong position to win the post of CFCM president for the first time in another vote on June 22. Several Muslim leaders said a new leadership should be able to free the CFCM to work on problems facing France’s 5 million Muslims such as training imams, building mosques and organising haj pilgrimages to Mecca. “This is a new beginning,” said Haydar Demiryurek, CFCM secretary general and head of the Coordinating Committee of French Turkish Muslims. … Anouar Kbibech, president of the RMF group that led the polls, said the new CFCM leadership would want to have Paris Grand Mosque group rejoin the council. “The Paris Grand Mosque has great symbolic importance,” he said, referring to the best-known mosque in France. “We will do everything we can to see it comes back.
An earlier post discussed the background of the boycott and the history of the CFCM. A recent Economist analysis is more pessimistic on the future of the CFCM:
Even if a deal is struck to divide up power again, the CFCM will struggle to win credibility. Non-practising Muslims see it as irrelevant, since it is organised entirely through mosques. It has been split by rivalries among foreign sponsors and financiers. And it has failed to pursue such practical matters as the training of imams, many of whom do not speak French. “The CFCM’s track record in terms of organising Islam in France is zero,” says Olivier Roy, an Islamic scholar. “The advantage is that this has left the regional heads to get on with what they want.”