Thursday, October 11, 2007

Paris Ramadan radio raps Muslim ignorance of Islam

from Reuters

France has Europe's largest Muslim minority, and thanks to a long tradition of relations with the Arab world, it is home to many Muslim intellectuals. But in the poor areas where many of the country's 5 million Muslims live, illiterate elders follow a sketchy folk Islam and many young people construct a do-it-yourself religion. Most of the 1,200 imams in France have no formal training and one-third do not speak French ... Tarik Bengarai, imam of a Sufi association, told Beur FM listeners that excessive concern about how to perform Islamic rituals was being whipped up by ultra-orthodox preachers known as salafis who spread a message of tout haram (everything is forbidden). "There is a massive presence of Salafis here," explained one guest of Ahmed el Keiy's radio program. "This growing movement is trying to make the Scriptures say what they don't actually say." A listener called in to say her teenage brother had fallen under the influence of a Salafi preacher and begun telling their uneducated father he was saying his prayers the wrong way.

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