Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PRESS

'The frozen heart of America': Condemnation as migrant families torn apart in US

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'There are two policies towards Russia in the Trump administration'

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

Grandmas Project: 'Their history was passed down through food'

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

Mali's basketball star: NBA top player Cheick Diallo makes hometown proud

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Trump threatens huge new tariffs on China

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Tunisia lose first World Cup match against England

Read more

THE DEBATE

Colombia's next president: Duque defeats left-wing Petro in run-off

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Aquarius, refugees and 'Europe's soul'

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Chiara Civello, Jay-Z and Beyoncé & Solidays festival

Read more

France

Peres meets French imams a year after Toulouse killings

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-03-10

Israeli President Shimon Peres has met a delegation of French imams working to improve relations between Muslim and Jewish communities, on the eve of the anniversary of a series of killings in Toulouse whose victims included Jewish children.

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Sunday met 20 French imams in Paris, on the eve of the first anniversary of a series of killings in and around Toulouse in southwest France, whose victims included three young Jewish children.

Many of the assembled imams visited Israel and the Palestinian territories last year follwing the murders committed by French citizen Mohamed Merah, who shot dead three Muslim soldiers serving in the French army, a Jewish teacher and three children between 11 and 19 March, 2012.

“Toulouse was a turning point,” Peres told the assembled religious leaders at a Paris hotel. “The man who committed the killings showed the most hideous face of this crime.”

Hassen Chalgoumi, the imam of the Drancy Mosque near Paris and France’s most vociferous campaigner for better relations between the Jewish and Muslim communities, led the French delegation.

“The eve of these terrible murders marks a difficult time for us all,” he told Peres, stressing that Merah had “killed Muslims before killing Jews.”

“Our everyday battle is against fundamentalism and violence,” he said, adding that the French Muslim community was “the first and foremost victim of fundamentalism. For French imams, human life is more important than Mecca.”

France has Europe’s biggest Muslim population, of around five million. Chalgoumi said that this community was not responsible for importing terrorism to the country, but conceded that its “duty is to be an exporter of peace.”

Following the meeting, Peres praised the imams, saying he was “impressed by their courage” for having visited Israel in 2012 and for daring to denounce crimes that had been committed not only against Jews, but against their own community.

Date created : 2013-03-10

  • FRANCE

    ‘Unprecedented’ Holocaust tribute by French imams

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Spotlight on troubled suburbs amid terror fears

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    France ‘botched’ Toulouse gunman investigation

    Read more

COMMENT(S)