Imam of Drancy, France, Hassen Chalghoumi, profiled in the New York Times

The New York Times calls Hassen Chalghoumi, 38, “the imam of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s dreams” because he supports the possible ban on full-face veils and has been involved in a great deal of ecumenical work with the French Jewish community. Chalghoumi claims, “A man who knows nothing about religion and sees a woman hidden from head to toe, what is he going to understand from that religion?” he asked. “The burqa is a sign of extremism, and it’s normal that the state is fighting against that.” The article also examines how Chalghoumi has received death threats for his public positions and in particular his support for a ban on facial veils, including the black niqab, which reveals only the eyes. There are voices of dissent among the 2,500 worshipers at his mosque in Drancy, just northeast of Paris. Some suggest that he has gone too far in some of his positions.