Excerpt:

The powerful Grand Mosque of Paris will pull out of a new, state-sponsored Muslim foundation, criticizing "interference" in how Islam is exercised, at a time of simmering tensions surrounding France's second-largest faith, its spokesman said.

The mosque, which represents some 250 Muslim associations, called in a statement for other Muslim groups to follow suit and "reject all attempts of stewardship" by the state.

Officially launched in December, the Foundation for Islam in France has a purely cultural aim, while a separate body linked to it is tasked with raising funds for mosque construction and training of imams. But the selection of a 77-year-old Catholic and former interior minister, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, to head the body has stirred controversy.


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