London – In an unprecedented intervention, a global coalition of 25 civil society organisations and NGOs spanning 11 countries have submitted a detailed letter of complaint to Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission.
The letter urges immediate action against France for its state sponsored Islamophobia, and for imposing the discriminatory and human rights-violating Imam’s Charter.

The 22-page complaint draws sharp focus to President Macron’s inherently discriminatory ‘Imam’s charter’. The Charter demands loyalty to ‘republican values’ while the state simultaneously weaponises these same values to abuse its Muslim citizens.

Furthermore, it is found to be ‘censoring free speech’ in a manner unheard of in European law and excludes visibly practicing Muslims from civil, political and social sectors. The Charter goes further to dissolve core aspects of Islamic belief in contravention of France’s stated value of laïcité, which ought to preserve the separation of state from religion.

As a result, the coalition declares that France stands in violation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights which protects and guarantees freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and also in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The letter is signed by, amongst others; Le CRAN Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires de France, The Islamic Central Council Switzerland, The Islamic Council of Victoria (Australia), MELD ISLAMOFOBIE (Netherlands), Muslim Public Affairs Commitee MPAC (UK) and CAGE (UK).

They demand that the European Commission President  open a formal infringement procedure against France before the European Court of Justice, to ensure that France respects EU law on the protection of the fundamental civil and political rights of all its citizens.

The complaint highlights how:

  1. President Macron’s Imam’s Charter violates the religious, political and civil rights of France’s Muslim citizens.

  2. the term “political Islam” is used to refer to being Muslim and politically and socially active and concerned. The inference being that any Muslim active in society is a possible danger to society.

  3. Macron wants conversations in mosques to only involve internal matters pertaining to France, thereby censoring the natural concerns of Muslims living in a globalised world.

  4. France has implemented numerous laws designed to limit freedom of belief and punish the manifestation of religion.

  5. there is no effective remedy within the French legal system to address state Islamophobia,

  6. thus the European Commission President must intervene to not allow a precedent to be set which will pose long-term damage to not only Muslims, but other communities in France.

Samira Sabir of Sabir’s Legal Services who submitted the complaint on behalf of the coalition said:

“We are reaching out to Ms. von der Leyen to stop the severe human rights violations in France. The Commission must intervene in France’s course and laws, that discriminatory and disproportionally target Muslims, violating their fundamental human rights.”

Janina Rashidi of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland, and also part of the coalition said:

“It is time to recognise that Islamophobia is not only a widespread phenomenon in right-wing circles, but has arrived in the mainstream of society. Instead of the state taking countermeasures and preserving social unity, the case of France exemplifies how state actors institutionalise and ultimately legitimise this Islamophobia through their rhetoric and discriminatory measures violating basic human rights. This has to stop.”


Read the letter in full here:

Letter to the EC president SLS 04-03-21 (1)_compressed
To download click here.


CC image courtesy of the European Parliament on Flikr 

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)