CAIRO – Inaugurating France's largest Islamic conference, leaders of the French Muslim community have put marriage and family issues at the center of the gathering’s discussions, citing a rising controversy surrounding gay marriage and gender equality education in the European country.
"The themes always stick to the news. Marriage for all, equality ABCD ... it clashes with our religion and it worries us," Amar Lasfar, the president of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF), was quoted by RFM TV on Friday, April 18.
Organized by UOIF, Le Bourget, the largest Islamic conference in France, opened on Friday, April 18.
Prominent Swiss Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan will attend the first day of the conference, which closes next Monday.
Themed "What values for a changing society? Man, family and community life", the four-day conference discusses a host of topics of interest for the Muslim community in France.
The controversy erupted after gender theory, which promotes same-sex, was included in school education stirring fierce criticism by France's conservative and right-wing groups.
The problems aggravated after French Muslims went in mass protests last February against the legalization of gay marriage and gender equality teaching in schools considering it a “violation” of traditional family values.
Despite fierce opposition and mass protest across the southern European country, President Francoise Hollande signed the controversial marriage bill into law in May 2013.
After the legislation, France became the 14th country in the world to allow gay marriage.
The event is expected to draw 150,000 visitors annually, Le Bourget’s attendants will be able to visit a 15,000 square meter exhibition space in which typical products from the Arab and Muslim world will be displayed.
Attendants at the annual gathering include prominent Muslim lecturer Tariq Ramadan and Christophe Roucou, the director of the National Service for Relations with Islam (SRI).
Program of this three-day conference include coffee discussions, reading the Qur’an and prayers.
For many Muslim leaders, this year’s agenda was forced on the organizers to tackle to rising debates.
"With the wedding and for all the" gender theory ", there is great concern about the family among the Muslim community," said Mr. Hammed Henniche, Secretary General of the Union of Muslim Associations of Seine Saint (UAM-93)-Denis.
"Family values are very important for Muslims. We realized that there was a difference of radical design, about the family, between us and the government."
Tariq Ramadan shared a similar opinion.
"From the point of view of the religious consciousness, marriage for all is something that is a real problem of consciousness," he told BFM TV.
"The issue of homosexuality should be asked in terms of philosophy life: I think it is something that goes against my faith," he added.
France is home to a Muslim minority of six million, Europe's largest.
Same-sex relationship and marriage are totally prohibited in Islam, Christianity and all divine religions.
Islam teaches that believers should neither do the obscene acts, nor in any way indulge in their propagation.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin, but considers homosexual intercourse as sinful.
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