The ambivalence of Dr. Chams-Eddine and Mister Hafiz, capable of moving – in the space of barely three months – from a manifesto against Islamism to an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, finds its explanation in the fact that the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris – like all his predecessors since the creation of this mosque in 1926 – is an official of the Algerian State: the Grand Mosque was erected as a sign of France’s gratitude to the “indigenous Algerian soldiers who died for their country during the Great War”.
Algeria has since become independent in 1962, but the Grand Mosque of Paris has remained the property of the Algerian ministry of the Waqf. The Algerian government devotes an annual budget of around 2 million euros to the Grand Mosque of Paris. He also pays the salaries of 120 Algerian “seconded imams” officiating across French territory, under the aegis of the Grand Mosque of Paris.
During a visit to the Grand Mosque on December 17, 2020, the Algerian Ambassador to France, Mohamed Antar Daoud, insisted that this mosque “is first of all Algerian and will never be anything else”!
It is this ‘‘consular Islam’’, disputed by foreign countries on French territory, which gave rise to the open war waged by Chams-Eddine Hafiz and the current president of the CFCM, Mohammed Moussaoui, known for his opposition to political Islam, but also subservient to his country of origin: Morocco.
The reorganization of Islam in France therefore suffers the full brunt of the collateral damage of the Algerian-Moroccan conflict – in which France is not a party – which has deteriorated in recent months, leading to the rupture of diplomatic relations between the two countries.