France opposes Strasbourg mosque backed by Turkish group

The French Interior Ministry has opposed plans by a Turkish group to build a mosque in the French city of Strasbourg, Radio France Internationale reported on Wednesday.

On Monday, local officials in Strasbourg approved a 2.5 million euro grant to the Millî Görüş Islamic Confederation for the project, FRI said. 

Millî Görüş was founded by supporters of former Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, one of the country’s most influential Islamist politicians.

The movement has close links with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party and operates throughout the Turkish diaspora in Europe.

But the Milli Gorus Islamic Confederation in France has refused to conform to a new government charter aimed at countering extremism.

A failure to sign-up to the charter means the group should not be recognised as representing Islam in France and should not receive funding for the Strasbourg mosque, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said, according to RFI.

The Strasbourg municipality "should not be financing foreign meddling on our soil", he said.

On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he believed Turkey could seek to interfere in France’s upcoming presidential elections.

Marcon has previously clashed with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the question of Islam.

In October, Erdoğan accused Macron of pursuing anti-Muslim policies in response to the killing of French teacher Samuel Paty by Islamic extremists.

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