Nicolas Sarkozy created the commission to formulate proposals in order to “touch up” the law of 1905 about the separation of the Church and State. Actually, despite his reassuring words, the Minister of the Interior wanted to question the spirit of this law, the article 2: “The Republic does not recognize, or pays, or subsidizes any cult”. Why? To support the construction of mosques in order to eliminate foreign influences on Islam in France? To fight against the “basement” phenomenon that houses terrorism? Noble intention, but wrong problem.
The problem is not building a mosque in France with the money of a Saudi sponsor but the modern or fundamentalist orientation of such a place for cults. It is not because a mosque had been built with foreign capital that the Imam would become an adversary of laicism, neither because a mosque is built with French capital and the Imam would not be a fundamentalist. At least, it is clear that the State has to get involved in the interpretations of the Koran that are defended in those places. Nicolas Sarkozy is careful about that, but this red line is the one that the Minister of the Interior is planning to cross to satisfy the different religious communities, from the Vatican, the UOIF to the scientologists.
Let’s be realistic about this; the risk is real. The idea of opening a gap in the secular French model attracts the right and left wing. The idea of negotiating social peace with Islamic preachers in populated neighborhoods with the risk of delegating the social link to religion rather than to the State in detriment of the secular people who live in such neighborhoods tempts the local representatives of the liberal right wing and those of a certain left wing. In England, in the name of such “pragmatism”, the Labor left wing is looking towards the “Muslim vote” that negotiates social and political peace with community representatives of the Muslim Brothers. Especially after the London attacks, like the latest decision of Blair’s government, appointing Tariq Ramadan among the wise people that advise the British government on fighting “Islamic extremism”. Is that a British joke? Some representatives of that council are already questioning the Holocaust Memorial Day. Precisely in France we will go to that indecent barter of less terrorism with more fundamentalism and towards this competition among communities if the law of 1905 is “touched up”.

Libération (France)
Libération followed a long path since its creation by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre to its acquisition by financier Edouard de Rothschild. Circulation: 150,000 copies.

Sarkozy, ne priez pas pour nous !”, by Caroline Fourest, Libération, December 1st, 2005.