The city of Strasbourg caps funding for places of worship


Eighteen months after a lively controversy over a subsidy to a Turkish mosque, the city of Strasbourg adopted new rules on Monday on the financing of places of worship, capping the participation of the municipality and strengthening the consultation of the State.

"We are giving ourselves a clear, transparent, shared framework", making it possible to "guarantee the principles of neutrality, transparency and fairness", explained the EELV mayor of Strasbourg, Jeanne Barseghian, during a meeting of the Council. municipal.

After long and sometimes lively discussions, the Strasbourg City Council voted 46 votes in favor (16 abstentions and no votes against) for a deliberation setting the city's support for religious associations and religious projects at a maximum of one million euros. This funding may not exceed “more than 10% of the total expenditure” for the creation or extension of a place of worship.

In addition, the eligibility of grant applications is conditional on the presentation of "a balanced financing plan" and "on the signing of the republican commitment contract". No request for funding for the same place of worship may be submitted again before ten years have elapsed.

For new places of worship or important projects, it is proposed that the prefect or the prefect "be seized for an opinion concerning the project", in particular to allow "to inform the municipality about the possible links of the association with foreign powers » or on « any alert relating to national security and/or fundamentalist or sectarian excesses ».

The ecological municipality had been at the heart of a lively controversy with the State in March 2021 after the vote by the Municipal Council on the principle of a possible subsidy of 2,5 million euros for the construction, still in progress, of the Eyyub Sultan mosque, supported by the Turkish association Millî Görüs.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin had accused the municipality of financing “foreign interference” on French soil, leading to very heated exchanges between the town hall and the prefecture. Millî Görüs had finally given up asking for this subsidy, avoiding the city of Strasbourg having to decide definitively on its granting.

Despite the specific regime of Alsace-Moselle, where the law of separation of Churches and State of 1905 does not apply, the mayor of Strasbourg underlined that the granting of a subsidy to a new place of worship did not come under "any automaticity". "There is no right to be funded, but a possibility," she added.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

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