France To Create New Muslim Body To Improve Relations

(AFP) – France’s government sought Monday to open a new chapter in relations with the country’s Muslims following a summer scarred by jihadist attacks and a ban on burkinis that ratcheted up communal tensions. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve met with senior Muslim representatives and agreed that the effort to revive ties will include the creation of an Islamic foundation, funded solely with money from within France. Around 30 towns have banned the burkini from their beaches, with some mayors linking the bans to the July 14 jihadist lorry attack in Nice that killed 86 and the murder of a Catholic priest near Rouen by Islamic State sympathisers. The burkini controversy looks set to continue after several mayors said they would ignore a decision Friday by the country’s top administrative court to suspend the ban. Anouar Kbibech, leader of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), said he hoped Monday’s talks were the start of a new chapter in relations. “This positive development will put an end to the repulsive saga of the burkini,” he said. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the aim of the discussions was to forge “an Islam anchored in the values of the French Republic”. Cazeneuve