Imam Hassan Chalghoumi in the spotlight for organizing march against terrorism

Imam Hassan Chalghoumi has recently been thrust back into the spotlight after he organized a “Muslim march against terrorism,” which is set to stop in several European cities July 8-14.

Chalghoumi’s involvement in the project has led to a number of reservations in his own community, which has denied his legitimacy. His visibility on television stations and his links with the Representative Council for Jewish Institutions in France are regularly criticized in social media.

A former Islamist who is now a writer, Malik Bezouh, sees several reasons for rejecting the event. First, there is the “colonial wound”, which has been reopened by Hassan Chalghoumi In some circles, particularly among the French of Algerian origin, he is regarded as “a blessed yes man, who France put forward to boast of its civilizing influence”, as well as “his lack of legitimacy”.

“He is a gentleman, his discourse is peaceful but is not up to the level of current challenges,” said Bezouh. “In the end, he does a disservice to the cause of dialogue and discredits the march, which was actually a good idea,” he believes.

In a joint statement, three Muslim leaders, Dalil Boubakeur and Abdallah Zekri of the Great Mosque in Paris, and Amar Lasfar of the Muslims of France have firmly condemned the project.

“Extremely concerned by the negative view of some French people with respect to the Muslim religion,” they are “urgently requesting all Muslims in France to participate actively in actions tending to make known the fundamental values of Islam which are in no way against the laws of the Republic”.

They “repudiate any link between Islam and terrorism and affirm that the Muslim religion cannot lead to any form of violence”.

“This is the classic discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood – ‘let us stop flagellating ourselves, justifying and excusing ourselves’ – to which the Great Mosque in Paris is not insensitive,” says a member of the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM).

“However, this view is not shared by all members of the CFCM. We are not in denial,” he believes.

More troubles emerge at the Drancy mosque outside of Paris

The mosque in the town of Drancy, on the outskirts of Paris, is currently the most controversial in France because its imam has come out in support of the government’s decision to ban the burqa. Imam Hassan Chalghoumi is now facing death threats and has been given police protection. Ignoring the advice of his advisors he spoke to the Today program. He says the burqa has nothing to do with religion but the wearing of it was down to tradition.

And the imam added that the burqa debate was diverting attention from the real problems facing the Muslim community, including racism, integration and young people dropping out of school early. Tempers are running high at the mosque and there are some it is hard to tell how many want the imam to leave. And there is also a lot of anger and frustration with the media and the police.