Deep in the wooded hills of Burgundy in central France, an institute is addressing the need for new imams for Europe's largest Muslim population as an alternative to recruiting foreign preachers.

Early in the morning, some 200 students from across the country stream into the European Institute of Human Sciences de Saint-Leger-de-Fougeret, where they learn to chant the Quran and study Islamic theology and Arabic literature.

After seven intensive years of study, only 10 or so graduates each year to lead prayers or preach at mosques.

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