Extremists threaten life of imam in France who wants improved Jewish-Muslim relations
PARIS (WJC)–A group of Islamic extremists has burst into a mosque near Paris during a prayer service and threatened to kill the local Imam, Hassen Chalghoumi, because of his efforts to improve relations between Jews and Muslims.
“We are going to liquidate him, this imam of the Jews,” some of the about 80 people who interrupted Monday’s service at Chalghoumi’s in Drancy, on the outskirts of Paris, shouted, according to news reports. There were about 200 worshipers in the mosque at the time. The intruders also called Chalghoumi a “heathen” and “renegade.”
Chalghoumi has consistently spoken out against Islamist extremism and worked actively with Muslim youth and Jewish leaders around France to condemn anti-Semitism. In 2006, his home was vandalized following his public request that all Muslims respect the memory of the thousands of Jews sent to Nazi death camps from Drancy during the Nazi occupation of France.
“They wanted to kill me,” Chalghoumi said on ‘Radio Orient’ on Tuesday, adding that he would continue to work for better Muslim-Jewish relations and speak out against extremism, because “it is our future that is at stake.” The imam confirmed he would make an official complaint against the unidentified intruders.
France’s Jewish community leaders expressed their solidarity and support for Chalghoumi. “We consider these events serious and worrisome,” said Sammy Ghozlan of the community group CCJ. “Since the arrival of the imam from Drancy, a real harmony has reigned between the Jewish and Muslim communities in the department,” his statement said.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress