French minister of interior for set up of Muslim theology institute
Regional-France, Religion, 9/19/2002
French minister of the interior, Nicolas Sarkozy, voiced support for the creation of an institute of Islamic theology, mainly to train imams.
In an interview with the French magazine "La Medina," Sarkozy said most imams are foreigners who do not usually speak French," and "those who are French, they were trained abroad."
According to the minister, imam training has two aspects. One part of the training can be done at the university or in institutes benefiting from public subsidies, and another part can not. Comparison can be made with Paris' Catholic Institute which gets such subsidies, and catholic seminars which receive none.
"There is still much to do. I am not in a position to set an agenda, but within a few years, an institute could be set up," he said.
"The future French Council of Muslim Cult (CFCM) would play a fundamental role as the authorities' official interlocutor," he said, adding that the stake of French imams training is "essential if we want to better integrate Islam."
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