How to prevent Muslim radicalisation? French Islamic body wants tests for imams before they're given licence

People, Muslims and non-Muslims, gather to pray at the Grande Mosque in Lyon, France, on Nov. 15, 2015, for the victims of the series of shootings in Paris two days earlier.Reuters

Two weeks after the horrific attacks in Paris by the terror group Islamic State (ISIS) which left 130 people dead, France continues to find ways to prevent the spread of Muslim radicalisation within its territory.

The French Council for the Muslim Religion, known as the CFCM, has proposed that imams, or Muslim preachers, be administered tests and be required to secure licences before being allowed to teach about their religion.

CFCM president Anouar Kbibech told AFP news agency that this move should ensure that imams are familiar with and are teaching a tolerant version of Islam, and not a radical one.

Kbibech, who heads the leading Islamic body in France, made this proposal during a recent meeting with French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

French Muslim activists, however, did not agree with CFCM's proposal to require imams to secure licences, saying it will do little to counter ISIS.

Yasser Louati, a spokesman for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, said CFCM's plan is actually redundant.

"We already have a curriculum in place where imams get what's called an ijaza (permit) so there is nothing new to add. Who will licence this? It is not for the government to interfere in the religious affairs of Muslims," Louati told Al Jazeera.

"I don't see any added value in this announcement, the people who did it [the Paris attacks] were not religious and were not radicalised in mosques," he added.

Felix Marquardt, a Parisian Muslim and co-founder of the al-Kawakibi Foundation, also questioned the effectiveness of the French Islamic body's suggestion against Muslim radicalisation.

"To think this [Paris terrorism] is product of some kind of slow radicalisation in a mosque is wrong, it's simply not the case," Marquardt also told Al Jazeera.

He added that the proposed licences for imams will not address the root cause of the problem.

"They are completely hostile to the idea on any kind of reform in Islam and we have a community that is lacking in courage to confront the problem ... There is a problem and it comes from our incapacity as Muslims to see that there is a problem," Marquardt said.

"If you're French Muslim, there's a big chance you're going to end up without a job, either selling drugs or up to no good, and you're going to be told all day that you're not French," he added.