French Islamic institute fights Islamophobia

France’s first Islamic government-backed institute will open in October in the northern city of Lille to counter the rising Islamophobia phenomenon and groom qualified imams and preachers.

“The need was so pressing to have such an institute to counter prevailing Islamophobia,” the institute’s dean Mohammad El-Beshari told

“The institute, which is affiliated to the University of Lille, will project the tolerant image and openness of Islam,” added Beshari, also the deputy head of the French Council for Muslim Faith (CFCM).

He said the Muslim minority, estimated at some six millions, were in a dire need to have such an educational establishment.

The institute is co-financed by the French and Qatari governments and its premises are donated by Lille Municipality.

Islam Online, 15 June 2006