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Paris, 1 Feb. (AKI) - The president of France's largest Muslim group the Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF), Thami Breze, and other prominent Muslims have defended a new course for would-be imams at the Catholic Insitute in Paris.

"Why attach such importance to the location of this course?" said Breze to Adnkronos International (AKI), referring to recent media controversy about the course.

"These people are students, not imams."

Djelloul Sedeki, director of the al-Ghazali institute for the training of imams in Paris which has fed into the new course told AKI that the Catholic Institute was the only place that had agreed to host it.

Other French institutions, including the Sorbonne, Paris 8 and other state universities had declined to be involved, citing the strict separation of Church and State which prohibits any kind of proselytising in public buildings.

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