Monday, November 16, 2009

An Interesting Statistic, Imams on the Dole

On Colbert Nation, Christopher Caldwell, author of this book about Islam and Europe, offered an interesting statistic. Apparently 2/3rds of the imams in France receive public welfare support.
Particularly in a country with such a strong secular tradition in terms of government/religion relations, that's quite an anomaly and begs are sorts of interesting questions.

For example is the French government aware of the extent to which it, albeit indirectly, is a very strong supporter of Islamic evangelism in France? After all, but for its financial support most imams in France would have to find other occupations. And if the French government is aware, what do they think about it?



  1. It seems you're making the assumption that all imams are evangelistic (with connotations of fundamentalism and therefore somewhat deviant) when I don't think that's necessarily the case. In my understanding an imam is simply a religious leader and can be either moderate or extremist.

  2. I find it rather interesting that you attempt to tease out of my words a more controversial statement than what I really made, i.e. that all imams are somehow deviant fundamentalists.
    I neither said such a ridiculous thing, nor believe it, nor implied it.

    However I don’t think that it is a stretch to assume that leaders of most religious groups are interested in recruiting others to those groups (i.e evangelizing) and in strengthening it in other ways. Many Christians do it, many Buddhists do it, and so do many Muslims. Rather than being deviant, it is the norm and one with which I have no personal beef at all.

    That doesn’t mean that I don’t think it is interesting that a government which prides itself* on a strict adherence to the principle of state/religion separation would in fact be a strong (indirect) supporter of religion.
    Life is full of fascinating contradictions.

    *see here for more info