Towards a Plural Financial System
Studies in Islamic Finance, Accounting and Governance series
Edited by Valentino Cattelan
Chapter 13: Managing Islamic finance vis-à-vis laïcité: the case of France
Does Islamic finance undermine the French principle of laïcité? The issue may be controversial considering that, on the one hand, Islamic finance mechanisms are still new for French policy-makers and people and, on the other hand, both the definition and the contents of the principle of laïcité are not unquestioned. For a large proportion of the population, French law is intrinsically devoid of any religiosity. This assumption results from the separation between the state and the churches that occurred in 1905 (Act of the Parliament of 9 December: Loi Concernant la Séparation des Églises et de l’État) in the name of laïcité, which later became one of the fundamental principles of the French Constitution of 1958.1 However, neither the Act of the Parliament of 1905 nor the French Constitution of 1958 provide a unilateral definition of the principle of laïcité, whose contents are usually associated (but do not precisely coincide) with the idea of secularism.
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