Wednesday, July 24, 2019
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At Le Bourget, an annual gathering of sparse Muslims

At the entrance, there are the usual questors. Everyone waves his bag, collects some money for building mosques. There are also these families who walk with a decided step towards the entrance of the Annual Meeting of Muslims of France (RAMF) at the Parc des Expositions du Bourget (Seine-Saint-Denis), which is traditionally held during the week-end. end of Easter. But if the rally has long been an essential meeting of Muslim circles, this is no longer the case. The RAMF is now out of breath, a decline visibly initiated.

"The public had already been lacking last year"Says the head of a Muslim news site. According to concordant sources, the 2018 edition had attracted little more than 70,000 visitors, half the figures put forward by the organizers, Muslims de France (the former UOIF, the French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood).


Placed under the theme (presumably premonitory) "A future to build," the 2019 meeting does not look much brighter. The round tables (and even the most polemical, such as the one devoted Saturday to the security policy) were followed by a very sparse audience. Even Marwan Muhammad, a media figure known for his fight against Islamophobia, was struggling to mobilize audience in the big conference room on his favorite theme of the inclusion of Muslims in French society.

A few years ago, the room was packed when theologian Tariq Ramadan intervened. The RAMF has, it's true, lost its headliner. Under the indictment of three indictments for rape in France and Switzerland, charges he refutes, the Swiss intellectual is no longer in the odor of sanctity to Muslims of France who has distanced himself discreetly and who does not invites more to Bourget.

Young breakdown

Many, however, hesitate to mention the fate of Tariq Ramadan. "He is a man on the ground. It's not worth it to add ", says a cadre of the Institute for Studies in Human Sciences (IESH), the training organization of the Muslim Brotherhood. "I make the difference. On one side there are the accusations. But if he came to give a lecture, I think I would attendSays a young woman. "His thought has marked us all »adds an activist from the former UOIF.

The decline of the manifestation is not only due to the absence of Ramadan. "Muslims in France can no longer rely on youth organizations that have long made the success of Le Bourget"Believes a very good connoisseur of Muslim backgrounds. Always headed by its founders, the former UOIF failed to renew its executives. On the contrary, she experienced a slow haemorrhage of young people who had joined her during the 90s and 2000s.

The shock of Christchurch

The world context, also very dramatic, surely surely discouraged part of the public. The attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, was very stressful for Muslims around the world. To pay tribute to the fifty victims, Muslims of France had invited Mustafa Farouk, head of the New Zealand community. "We can not forget but we can forgive"he said at a ceremony held late Saturday morning at RAMF. Deliberately avoiding the very small media too, the president of Muslims of France, Amar Lasfar asked the government a law against Islamophobia. Solicited by Release, he refused to speak. And shifted his official speech planned Saturday at the end of the day. His organization was recently challenged by the investigation of two journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, revealing generous funding from Qatar.

Bernadette Sauvaget Special Envoy to Bourget (Seine-Saint-Denis)



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