Varied responses to Muslim march against terrorism

“Our message is clear: we cannot associate Islam with these barbarians and these killers” who kill in the name of Allah, declared Hassen Chalghoumi, who has organized the Muslim march against terrorism along with Marek Halter. Surrounded by thirty imams from France, Italy, Portugal and Belgium, he called on “civil society to mobilize.”

Known for his opposition to radical Islam and close relations with the Jewish community, the former imam of Drancy has been largely rejected by France’s Muslim leaders. When asked about the lack of Muslims and the CFCM’s opposition to the march, Chalghhoumi “refused to enter into controversy,” noting that it was instead necessary to question the motivations of those who “critique the initiative of a march against barbarians.”

Le Parisien spoke with a young Muslim woman on the Champs-Elysées and asked her about the imam: “Chalghoumi? He doesn’t represent me at all. We have all suffered from terrorism, but this march, we never heard it talked about.” The imam from Lisbon, David Munir, nevertheless saluted a “historic initiative in Europe,” adding: “Certain people have committed crimes in the name of Islam, we are here to say ‘not in our name.’ Not to say that Islam is a religion of peace, which you know, but to say that we are looking for an identity, a European identity.”

Others called on the government to “take responsibility” because “extremist ideas feed on the social malaise that exists in our banlieues.”