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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 January, 2005, 15:43 GMT
Woman quits French Muslim council
A Muslim pupil
France has about five million Muslims
One of two female members of a group set up to represent Muslims in France has resigned, saying it had failed to make any progress on important issues.

Dounia Bouzar said she was stepping down from the French Council of the Muslim Faith because it had become dominated by men born outside France.

She said they were too influenced by their countries of origin and failed to address young French Muslims' concerns.

The council was set up in 2002 as an official point of contact with Muslims.

Its Algerian-born president, Dalil Boubaker, who is also rector of the main mosque in Paris, has said Miss Bouzar's resignation was a cause for regret.

But Miss Bouzar, an anthropologist and expert on Muslim integration, said: "For two years now I have been waiting for discussions to begin, but we never talked about anything. I don't see what qualified people like me are there for.

"All they talk about is procedures, who gets what positions, and the modalities of the elections which will take place in June. I do not see why I should continue with a mere walk-on part."

She said the fact that mainly immigrants ran the council (CFCM) meant young Muslims felt unrepresented and received little advice on how to live as Muslims in a secular western state.

"As long as there is not a majority of French-born Muslims on the board, the CFCM will suffer from rivalries that divide its members according to their countries of origin," she said.


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