Muslim leaders did not hesitate to condemn the execution of American journalist Steven Sotloff, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2013. The ISIS has claimed responsibility for his murder.
“The Muslims of France wholeheartedly condemn such barbaric acts which create horror and astonishment and ask that nations unite to eradicate these deadly abuses which misrepresent the Muslim religion,” stated Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Great Mosque of Paris and President of the French Council of the Muslim Faith.
“The misguided interpretation of the Coran by terrorist groups distances them from the message of the Prophet of Islam and excludes them from the community of believers,” he added.
Mohammad Moussaoui, president of the Union of French Mosques stated that “the organization known as the Islamic State, which is neither a state nor Islamic,” was nothing more than “a bunch of bloodthirsty terrorists.”
Kamel Kabtane, rector of the Great Mosque of Lyon has made a “clear and precise position” concerning his opinion about the Islamic State of Iraq. The French Council of the Muslim Faith recently released a statement stating, “The CFCM calls on French Muslims to reaffirm their commitment to religious liberty and to respect the beliefs of each human being, wherever they are located.”
However, this statement was not sufficient for Kabtane. “It must be said that the Muslim community is against the massacres of Christians in Iraq,” he said. In Iraq, the Islamic State is persecuting Christians who live in the north of the country. Kabtane believes that “French Muslims would be proud to severely condemn the abominations committed by the executioners in the self-proclaimed Islamic State.” “They are bastards over there…In France, Muslims wish to leave peacefully” he added.
According to the Kabtane, public opinion confuses extremist groups with traditional believers. He stresses that one must not confound “Muslims with all fanatic groups,” and adds that “public opinion is infected with this poison.” Kabtane is known to act autonomously from the French Council of the Muslim Faith.
Facing the chaos of jihadists in the Islamic State of Ira, France’s Muslim community has not stayed silent. Instead, it has voiced its support for the Christian and Yezidi minorities that are currently being persecuted in Iraq.
“Faced with the challenges of fanatics and extremists from all sides, believers and humanists from all cultures and religions must mobilize to bring together peoples and communities. It’s about building ‘bridges’ while some would build ‘walls’” affirmed Anouar Kbibech, president of the Rally of Muslims in France (RMF) when responding to the “jihadist threat” of the “so-called Islamic State” proclaimed in Iraq.
As they have already stated on numerous occasions, French Muslim authorities stress that Islam is a “religion of peace” and maintain that it must not be associated with any form of terrorism. “Any crime of terror is an attack against all of humanity” stated Kamel Kabtane, rector of the Great Mosque of Lyon and Laid Bendidi, president of the Regional Council of the Muslim Faith (CRCM), addressing the acts of violence perpetrated by the Islamic State against Christian Iraqis.
Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Great Mosque of Paris and president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), called on “Muslim countries to leave behind their cold indifference concerning the massacres of Christians and Yazidis.” The RMF stated that Islam is deeply committed to religious freedom as stated in the Quranic verse (2:256) “Al Baqara: no constraint in religion.”
The president of the CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Faith) Mohammed Moussaoui reminded the press that they are in favor of a possible law which would ban the burqa and niqab in France.
French authorities are filing preliminary charges of “attempted murder with anti-Semitic motives” against three suspects charged with beating a Jewish teenager on June 21st in Paris, who later spent two days in a coma. Libération newspaper claims that such altercations are on the rise among youth gangs in the 19th district of Paris.
The June attack was immediately condemned by President Sarkozy, who was on a three-day visit to Israel at the time and “assure[d] the victim and his family of his support and renews his total determination to fight all forms of racism and anti-Semitism.” Mohamed Moussaoui, the new president of the CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Faith) stated in Le Figaro that he was concerned about the attack like “All other French people. Not especially as Muslims. We live in harmony with the other religions. The isolated incidents of anti-Semitism carried out by Muslims should be not over generalized.” France has the largest populations of Muslims and Jews living in close proximity outside of the Middle East.
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International Herald Tribune
More details on the attack here.
International Herald Tribune
Moussaoui’s comments in Le Figaro available here .
French president Nicolas Sarkozy recently defended the notion of “positive secularism” which allows place for religion in the public sphere. While Sarkozy has not introduced any real reform, making the statement in speeches in Rome in December 2007 and in Riyad in January 2008, the suggestion has created fierce debate. In the past Sarkozy has read the 1905 law separating Church and State broadly, notably in allowing the new construction of religious spaces for Muslims and in the controversial creation of the CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Faith) in 2003.
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