Islam is a religion of peace, universal, and mercy for the whole of nature. Since the foundation, the religion of Islam was well received in many parts of the world. Starting from the Arabian peninsula, Asia, Africa, America, to Europe.
In the 20th century, Islam spread so rapidly in mainland Europe. Slowly, people in blue continent predominantly Christian and Catholic is starting to accept the presence of Islam. No wonder if then the religion of Islam became one of the serious attention of European society.
In France, Islam developed in the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20 M. In fact, in 1922, has established a very grand mosque named Masjid Raya Joseph in the French capital, Paris. Up to now, more than 1000 mosques stand throughout France.
In this country, Islam spread through immigrants from the Maghreb countries, like Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, and others. Sometime in the 1960s, thousands of Arab workers to immigrate (move) on a large scale into Europe, especially in France.
Currently, the number of adherents of Islam in France reached seven million people. With this amount, the French became the country with the greatest of Muslims in Europe. Following Germany about four million people and the UK around three million inhabitants.
The role of migrant workers from Africa and parts of Asia that make the religion of Islam is growing rapidly. These workers set up a community or organization to develop Islam. Gradually, the population of France was more and more converts to Islam.
Because the effect is so rapid that, the French Government had banned the workers’ movement to the spread of religion, particularly Islam. French Government worried about Islamic religious organization that conducted the laborers will be made public divisions within ethnic groups. Thus, it can cause disintegration and can divide communities.
Not only that, the door of immigration for workers who are Muslims were increasingly narrowed and even closed. However, the Arab community who want to move to France continued to increase. That way the doors open.
In the 1970s, Muslim immigrants returned to the originator of the trias politica. This time, the Muslim students who come to France to study. The arrival of the students is an important factor that takes a big and important role in encouraging the spread of Islam and Islam in the heart of the Bohemian country was Napoleon Bonaparte.
1985, held a major conference of Islamic-financed Rabithah Alam Islami (World Muslim Organization). Participate in the conference of 141 countries with the decision of establishing the Islamic Federation of French Muslims. This great event did not escape the attention of the world, given the presence of Muslims in one European country has always been a dilemma for local authorities, particularly with respect to employment (labor) and social problems.
The results of the conference and the establishment of Muslim federation that succeeded in uniting as many as 540 pieces of Islamic organizations in France and throughout 1600 to protect the mosques, Islamic educational institutions, and buildings owned by Muslims.
With this condition, the sequence (saf) Muslims are increasingly robust. Even more exciting again, most members of the federation who runs the organization actually comes from the youth themselves a French Muslim.
Federation aims to play an active role in the success of Islamic activities in France and provide knowledge and education about Islam to the people of France.
These institutions play a major role in bridging the French Muslim community with local government, especially in voicing the interests of Muslims. “With this agreement, the Muslims have equal rights with Catholics, Jews, and Protestants,” said a government minister, Nicolas Sarkozy.
The organization is a combination of three major Islamic organizations in France, the Paris Mosque, the National Federation of Muslims, and the Union of Islamic Organizations of France.
Ban on Hijab
France, which is also known as the state of this mode, once banned Muslim women wear veils around the year 1989. Muslim student removed from class for wearing the hijab, Muslim workers dismissed from office for wearing a headscarf. However, they do not give up. French Muslims to shake up Paris-action demonstrations demanding freedom. And Muslims in various countries were participating in the protest against the policy.
Finally, the government issued a policy on 2 November 1992 that allowed the students to wear Muslim headscarves in state schools.
Now, the appearance of veiled women in France became a powerful Islamic phenomenon in the country. They not only present in mosques or religious centers of other Muslims, but also in the public schools, state universities, and other public places. Many things affect the development of Islam in France. One is the 1991 Gulf War that led to the emergence of an identity crisis among young Muslims in France. These conditions encourage them to be more diligent in coming to the mosque. Intifada movement in Palestine is also encouraging the increasing number of French Muslim worshipers to the mosque.
Muslims in France have a very important role. They play a role in all sectors. Ranging from education, financial institutions, government, sports, social, and others. In fact, during World War I and II, Muslims in Europe also recorded against the Nazi occupation. The participation of Muslims in opposing the Nazi occupation became an integral part of the history of France’s struggle for independence.
Mosques and Islamic Schools Rises
Along with the Islamic religion in the state berkembangannya France, the number of places of worship and Islamic activities is increasing. According to a survey group of French Muslims, until the year 2003, the number of mosques throughout France reached 1554 units. Ranging from a rented room in the basement until the buildings owned by Muslims and was built in public places. Development of Islam and mosques in France are also written by a French journalist who is also an expert on Islam, Xavier Ternisien. In his latest book, Ternisien writing, in the Saint Denis, north of France, there were approximately 97 mosques, while in the south of France as much as 73 mosque.
Ternisien added a lot of mosques in France stood with a typical dome-dome show that Islam is now more prominent in the country. Islam in France is no longer religious in the past to move silently. “Mosques in France now even built on land owned by Muslims themselves, no longer in a rented place as in the past,” he said. Apparently, in the coming years, the number of mosques in France will further increase. A number of mosques are now sometimes can not accommodate all the worshipers. Mosque in the Belle Ville and Barbes, for example, some worshipers are forced to pray to the curb.
Initially, the existing mosques in France founded by the Muslims of Pakistani origin who worked in factories in Paris, France. They changed the little room where lunch or change clothes into the room to pray. Sometimes, they use a room in the dorm as a means of worship. Thus, it continues to grow and spread.
Developments continue to rise it makes some people worry the French. Mosques are frequent targets of racist attacks. Dark days of mosques in France occurred in 2001. A number of mosques were targeted attacks using Molotov cocktails. In fact, there are mosques were burned. Other forms of attack is drawing on the walls of the mosque and the walls of the mosque imams home with swastikas. However, so far, no human rights organizations or associations that concern Muslim attacks.
Not only mosque schools are growing, Islamic schools in the country also participated in developing this mode. A number of Islamic schools established in France. Until now, there are at least four private Muslim schools.
“The government recently gave permission to start operations,” said Mahmoud Awwad, sponsor and director of the School Education et Savior. Initially, a school founded in Vitrerie, a suburb south of Paris. Curriculum tailored to the French national education curriculum, but there are additional local content specific lessons about Islam, such as Arabic language and Islamic religion. Education et Savior is the second school was opened in Paris after school on the outskirts Reussite Aubervilliers, north of Paris, and the fourth in France. Two other Islamic private schools are Ibn Rushd in the City of Lille, northern France, and Al-Kindi in the city of Lyon.
During this time, Muslims in France want to have a private school after Paris banned Islamic headscarves and religious symbols in public schools four years ago. Muslim girls who wear headscarves will be excluded from school and this makes their future bleak.
Awwad claimed, it is not difficult to get a permit the establishment of Islamic schools. “Unlike Al-Kindi school, we did not encounter any obstacles,” said Awwad. The opening of Al-Kindi in Lyon challenged when opened in 2006.
Academy of Lyon, the highest state education agencies in the city, refused to permit the school’s operations and close the school with the reason the school did not meet the standards of cleanliness and safety. However, in the Lyon Administrative Court to cancel the closure in February last year. This means that Al-Kindi school could open a new school in March 2007.
According to the French Muslim leaders, the incident at Al-Kindi would encourage Muslim societies to open a similar school. “Al-Kindi controversy break down the fear in the Muslim minority to have more schools,” said Thami Breze Lhaj, chairman of the Union of Islamic Organizations in France, UOIF.