Petition Against Islamic Institute
In addition to mosques that are cropping up like mushrooms all over France, now there are plans afoot to build a large and costly French Institute for Muslim Civilization (IFCM) in Lyons next to the Grand Mosque. The Grand Mufti of the Grand Mosque, Kamel Kebtane, is spearheading the project, which is to receive 65% of its financing from public money.
The citizens of Lyons are opposing the IFCM, and have posted online a petition against the use of public funds to finance the Institute. A website called IFCM-Non-Merci provides a text explaining the various ramifications and potential repercussions of this grandiose project:
After the Grand Mosque of Lyons, the Muslim community, which is rapidly growing, is now demanding an enormous new project. If the IFCM comes into being, it will be a huge building with underground parking, two conferences rooms, one 288, the other 156, square meters in size, 11 classrooms, several large reception rooms, a 97-square-meter exhibition hall, an ATM machine, a shop, a 48-square-meter meeting room, a cafeteria, a library, a language laboratory, a recreation area and even some apartments. This gigantic structure will be spread over four floors covering more than 2700 square meters and will employ 11 full-time workers. Far from being a simple cultural Institute, the IFCM will be a veritable Islamic center on a large scale.
The next paragraph informs us that the total cost is estimated to be more than 8,000,000 euro and provides a breakdown showing exactly where the money will come from: 10% from the city of Lyons, 15% from the region of Rhône-Alpes, 15% from the French State, 25% from the European Union, and 10% from the department of Rhône. This totals more than 5,000,000 euro in public money, to which must be added 1,000,000 euro in operating costs per year. The article points out that this enormous sum of money is to be paid by people who are in no way concerned with or connected to the project itself.
Article 2 of the law of 1905 states that "the Republic neither recognizes, nor salaries, nor subsidizes any religion." If it is obvious today that French laïcité is no longer respected when the disguised financing of mosques is the issue, then this project is calling for a new transgression of this principle. A much more serious transgression than that involving a mere place of worship, since this Institute is, in truth, a meta-political Islamic center in disguise.
According to an initial study from the Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies, the center could be constructed with the help of funds from Islamic countries. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates have shown interest in participating in the financing and are actively supporting the new project. One can wonder about the reasons that impel these Islamic countries to participate in such projects in Europe, but also on the origins of the funds that would be used.
The political class rushed to give its consent without asking the people for their opinion. This is because financing the IFCM is an opportunity for the local policy-makers to insure the support of the Muslim community in the next election. According to a private study conducted in preparation for the construction, 150,000 persons have "a link with Muslim tradition and Islamic culture" in the Greater Lyons area, or 10% of the population. Hence it is a community that cannot be ignored by politicians who can no longer refuse to grant the public subsidies needed for the IFCM without running the risk of punishment in the next election. A political motive best illustrated by Kamel Kabtane's plans for breaking the Ramadan fast in the reception rooms of the Lyons City Hall on September 15, 2009.
Those interested in signing the petition can click the link above, which in turn will lead you to the petition and a list of signatories.
The photo below, from Wikipedia, is of the medieval section of Lyons.