France appoints first Muslim military chaplain

The French minister of defence, Michèle Alliot-Marie, received Wednesday the first chaplain in chief of the Muslim cult, Abdelkader Arbi, who was appointed on 8 June, reported AFP quoting a communiqué from the French Ministry of Defence.

The French Council of the Muslim Cult (CFCM) proposed the candidature of Arbi for this post, which had been instituted by a decree issued on 16 March 2005.

Many Muslims from Algeria, Morocco and Senegal had fought for the French army, particularly during the First and the Second World Wars, where tens of thousands perished. Yet, no Muslim military chaplain had been appointed; only "semi-official" Imams have filled the gap, underlined Arbi.

However, Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish military chaplains already exist in the French army.
Born in Algeria, to a father who had served in the French army, Arbi came to France with his family in 1962. He has been working in Cléon (north-western France), the city where he is a local councilor within a leftist majority.

There are no statistics concerning the number of Muslims in the French army, "but they are in all the army sections, and among them, a lot of high ranking ones," the France's first Muslim
chaplain affirmed during the announcement of his candidacy.

Source: Morocco Times (English)

No comments: