French imams preach against violence

SHAFAQNA – France’s main Islamic groups, imams and scholars will take to their podiums on Friday prayer to preach against violence and terrorism, condemn Charlie Hebdo attack and defend the true peaceful nature of their faith.

At the 2,400 Muslim places of worship across France, imams will “condemn in the strongest possible terms violence and terrorism, wherever it originates, during the prayer meeting,” Dalil Boubakeur, rector of Paris’s Grand Mosque, told Le Figaro.

“The Muslims will then come together “in a dignified and silent in memory of our compatriots, the victim of terrorism.”

They should also “join massively” to the various national events in a “affirm their desire to live together peacefully in accordance with the values of the Republic,” Boubakeur, who is also the president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM ), added.

His calls followed a meeting for France’s main Islamic groups urged Muslims across the country on Thursday to condemn gunmen attack on Charlie Hebdo.

Seeing the Charlie Hebdo attack as a betrayal of Islamic faith, leaders from Muslim countries and organizations have joined worldwide condemnation of the attack, saying the attackers should not be associated with Islam.

Along with Friday prayers, Muslim leader suggested observing moments of silence across France.

The groups called on “Muslim citizens of France to observe a minute of silence today at midday (1100 GMT), along with the rest of the nation, in memory of the victims of terrorism.”

The appeal — issued by Muslim assemblies from across France — also called on imams at Friday prayers to “condemn the violence and the terrorism with maximum firmness.”

Muslim citizens were also asked to join “in massive numbers” a national day of solidarity on Sunday where demonstrators are expected to take to the streets of towns across France.

The bloody Charlie Hebdo attack has left French Muslims fearful of facing more isolation and becoming more vulnerable to Islamophobia.

Several attacks were reported on Wednesday and Thursday on Muslim mosques and facilities across France.

Brotherhood Appeal

Meeting Wednesday night at the Elysee, France’s Muslim leaders observed a minute of silence before launching an unprecedented appeal to the “brotherhood.”

“We, the leaders of worship in France, we want to appeal to the fraternity. We appeal to the conscience and commitment of all citizens of this country. We call on everyone to join in this spirit of brotherhood rally Sunday and national mourning,” Le Figaro reported

They concluded from this typical Republican appeal: “We are united in the defense of republican values, freedom, equality, fraternity, and in particular the defense of freedom of expression. We are committed to continue this momentum sharing, dialogue and fraternity.”

France is home to a Muslim minority of six millions, Europe’s largest.

French Muslims have been complaining of restrictions on performing their religious duties.

Over the past decade, France has passed a number of controversial laws restricting the wearing of religious symbols in public areas.

In 2004, France banned Muslims from wearing hijab, an obligatory code of dress, in public places. Several European countries followed the French example.

France also outlawed the wearing of face-veil in public in 2011.

A recent IFOP poll found that almost half of French citizens see Muslims as a threat to their national identity.




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