Two weeks after the vote by the Strasbourg city council on the “principle” of a subsidy of more than 2.5 million euros for the construction of a mosque, the prefect of Bas-Rhin announced that he was going to court.
Showdown between the state and the ecological mayor of Strasbourg: two weeks after a controversial vote on the “principle” of a municipal subsidy of more than 2.5 million euros for the construction of a mosque, the prefect du Bas-Rhin announced on April 6 that they were going to court in order to have this “contentious decision” annulled. The vote of the municipal council of March 22 had aroused a strong reaction from the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, who accused the mayor (EELV) Jeanne Barseghian of financing a “foreign interference”, in this case that of Turkey , on French soil. The minister also criticized the Islamic Confederation of Millî Görüs (CIMG), which carries the project, for not having signed the “Charter of the principles of Islam in France”.
“Recent exchanges of letters” between the prefect of Bas-Rhin Josiane Chevalier and the mayor “did not lead to the withdrawal of the deliberation of the municipal council”, said the prefecture, announcing its decision to “defer the disputed deliberation at the Strasbourg Administrative Court ”. “It is a question of obtaining the cancellation of the deliberation of the municipal council, the legality of which we are contesting,” the prefecture told AFP, without further details on the legal means invoked.
The prefecture recalls that the subsidy, which still had to be confirmed by a second vote of the city council, is intended for the CIMG which is leading the project of the Grand Mosque Eyyub Sultan, under construction in Strasbourg.
The president of the future place of worship and of the CIMG Est Eyüp Sahin said he was “particularly affected” by the “many accusations” against his association and his project. In a declaration of principle endorsed by two other Islamic organizations, Millî Görüs proclaimed on this occasion his “adherence to the principles of the Republic [et son] rejection of the influence of foreign states ”.
According to an Ifop poll published on April 7 and commissioned by the Grand Orient de France, the French people questioned are very unfavorable to the construction project of this mosque. The polling institute evokes a “scathing disavowal” and asserts: “85% of the French are opposed to it, like 81% of Alsatians-Mosellans, 79% of Strasbourg and 87% EELV sympathizers.”
On April 1, Strasbourg city hall indicated that the final decision on the allocation of the controversial subsidy would be “taken quickly, transparently” during the month. The city of Strasbourg had also indicated that it had presented “requirements” to the project leaders “in terms of the solidity of the financing plan and unequivocal adherence to the republican principles”.
The mayor, Jeanne Barseghian, also affirmed in a letter to Emmanuel Macron that he had not received until March 23 “any alert” from the State on Millî Görüs and his project.
Millî Görüs rejects accusations of allegiance to Ankara or “separatism”
The Alsace-Moselle Concordat authorizes communities to finance the construction of religious buildings.
Millî Görüs has thus maintained contacts with the State in the past, obtaining in 2020 a “grant” of 2,500 euros for a “charitable action” or entering into an “agreement” with him to fight against road insecurity. Millî Görüs also submitted a prayer room project to the services of the City of Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin).
For his part, the government spokesman Gabriel Attal had ruled on April 1 that Millî Görüs went “against the values of the Republic” and was “not intended to organize activities, to exist in the Republic” , without however announcing the dissolution of this organization.
The Millî Görüs association for its part strongly rejected the accusations, according to it “unfounded”, of allegiance to Ankara or of “separatism”, during a press conference on April 6. Eyüp Sahin, president of the place of worship under construction and of the Islamic Confederation Millî Görüs (CIMG) East, declared: do politics.”
Millî Görüs, however, refused to sign the charter requested by the government. The president of CIMG France, Fatih Sarikir, defended himself: “The provisional Charter has no legal value”. Eyüp Sahin finally declares that the financing of the mosque project is “transparent” and that the “accusations of political Islam are false, unfounded”.