Photo: Imam of Drancy Hassen Chalghoumi and French author Marek Halter attend a tribute to beheaded French teacher Samuel Paty during Friday prayers at the mosque of Drancy near Paris, France, October 23, 2020. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)
French Muslim representatives once again condemned terrorism and denounced the recent “attacks against France” during a press conference Monday at the Great Mosque in Paris at which they presented a joint declaration.
Gratitude for freedom of expression in France
The signatories to the text, members of the French Muslim federations and of the French mosques, reaffirm in their manifesto their attachment to freedom of expression and religion.
“It is thanks to this essential cornerstone of the Republic that we can, as citizens and Muslims, exercise our faith”, they recall.
The Muslim anti-terrorism manifesto clearly condemns “all violence expressed in the name of our religion” and the instrumentalisation of Islam “for political, diplomatic or commercial ends”, and also criticises the “unjustified calls to boycott French products” issued above all by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The joint declaration of the Islamic communities also denounces foreign entities that encourage violence in France.
Meetings with French government representatives to prevent radicalisation
A few days ago, after the terrorist-related beheading of a teacher in Paris and the knife attack in a Nice basilica, several Islamic leaders held two important working meetings under the aegis of the French government’s Council of the Muslim Faith.
The first meeting broached the subject of the training of religious leaders, and the second focused on prevention against radicalisation.
With regard to the formation of the Muslim clergy, participants at the first meeting highlighted “the real possibility of reaching agreement on a common course”.
They declared that their aim will be to train Islamic leaders capable of promoting, with one voice, an Islam “fully anchored in the Republic and in the religious panorama of our country”. The issue of accreditation and certification of imams was also discussed.
Regarding radicalisation, several proposals emerged from the second meeting, starting with the organisation of seminars to better understand the causes, signs and manifestations of the phenomenon, as well as the profiles of those at risk of falling victim to extremism, especially among young people.
Finally, participants expressed their desire to create “units tasked with opposing extremist discourse by bringing together imams, chaplains and educators”.
(With reporting by Vatican News)