Negotiating Republican Islam

The Conseil français du culte musulman and the Debates on Headscarves and Full Veils

in Journal of Religion in Europe
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The article analyzes the discursive construction of republican Islam by French parliamentarians and the representatives of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (cfcm or Conseil français du culte musulman) during the debates on headscarves and full veils. It is argued that even though both parties agreed generally on the need to promote moderate Islam that is loyal to French laws, values and principles, there were also several issues that divided these parties. The article employs the framework of analytics of government and highlights the element of negotiation and the active role of the different parties involved in the regulation of Islam.

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    John R. Bowen“Recognising Islam in France after 9/11,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35/3 (2009) 439–452 here 441.

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  • 7

    For instance Alain Boyer“La representation du culte musulman en France,” French Politics Culture & Society 23/1 (2005) 8–22 and Jonathan Laurence “From the Élysée Salon to the Table of the Republic: State-Islam Relations and the Integration of Muslims in France” French Politics Culture & Society 23/1 (2005) 37–64.

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    Veit Bader“The Governance of Islam in Europe: The Perils of Modelling,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 33/6 (2007) 871–886 here 873; Nikolas Rose Powers of Freedom. Reframing Political Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1999) 15; Jani Kaisto & Miikka Pyykkönen “Johdanto. Hallinnan analytiikan suuntaviivoja” Jani Kaisto & Miikka Pyykkönen (eds.) Hallintavalta: sosiaalisen politiikan ja talouden kysymyksiä (Helsinki: Gaudeamus 2010) 7–24 here 7.

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    Bader“The Governance” 873.

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    Jennifer A. Selby“Islam in France Reconfigured: Republican Islam in the 2010 Gerin Report,” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 31/3 (2011) 383–398.

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    Bader“The Governance” 873; Maussen The Governance 5–6.

  • 19

    DeanGovernmentality18.

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    RosePowers5.

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    Martikainen“The Governance” 245.

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    Inda“Analytics” 6–7.

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    Inda“Analytics” 7–8.

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    Inda“Analytics” 9.

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    Inda“Analytics” 9–10.

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    Inda“Analytics” 10.

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    DeanGovernmentality44.

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     See DeanGovernmentality43.

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    Caeiro“Religious” 71; Zeghal “La constitution” 98.

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    Hervieu-Léger“Islam” 210–211.

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    Caeiro“Religious” 74.

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    Caeiro“Religious” 73; Zeghal “La constitution” 103–104.

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    Caeiro“Religious” 79; Zeghal “La constitution” 110–111.

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    Caeiro“Religious” 76–77.

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    Hervieu-Léger“Islam” 212–213.

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    DebréRapport12 19 36; Gerin Rapport 391.

  • 45

    DebréRapport43.

  • 46

    For instance DebréRapport14; Gerin Rapport 395. The reasonings of the commissions (most notably the Stasi Commission) that worked during the headscarf and full veil debates as well as the laws of 2004 and 2010 and their (unwanted) consequences have been criticized in research literature. To give just a few examples see Gunn “Religious Freedom” and Leane “Rights”.

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    GerinRapport395.

  • 48

    DebréRapport19.

  • 49

     See for instance Olivier RoyLa laïcité face à l’islam (Paris: Stock2005) 160–165 and Remy Leveau & Shireen T. Hunter “Islam in France” Shireen T. Hunter (ed.) Islam Europe’s Second Religion. The New Social Cultural and Political Landscape published in cooperation with the Center for Strategic and International Studies Washington d.c. (Westport Connecticut: Praeger 2002) 3–28 here 12–13. It is interesting to note the difference of tone between the 2003 hearings of the Rector of the Paris Mosque Dalil Boubakeur and the General Secretary of uoif Fouad Alaoui. While the former was praised for courageously defending laïcité and his quest for moderate Islam the loyalty of the latter was more or less questioned. This is however in accord with the fact that Paris Mosque had close ties with the state even before the establishment of the cfcm while uoif and its links to the Muslim Brotherhood have caused concerns.

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    GerinRapport396.

  • 51

    DebréRapport35–37.

  • 52

    GerinRapport391.

  • 53

    GerinRapport396.

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    GerinRapport394.

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    DebréRapport43; Gerin Rapport 395.

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    GerinRapport401.

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    DebréRapport24.

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    DebréRapport11.

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    DebréRapport26.

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    GerinRapport392 403.

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    GerinRapport406.

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    GerinRapport401–402.

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    GerinRapport403.

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    GerinRapport400.

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    GerinRapport390–409.

  • 70

    GerinRapport399.

  • 71

    GerinRapport401.

  • 74

     See also John R. Bowen“Does French Islam Have Borders? Dilemmas of Domestication in a Global Religious Field,” American Anthropologist 106/1 (2004) 43–55.

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  • 78

    DebréRapport23.

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