Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Frenchman kidnapped in Algeria: 'IS'-linked jihadists claim abduction of 55 year-old tourist

Read more

DEBATE

What's the deal with Turkey? (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The Sarkozy soap opera

Read more

DEBATE

What's the deal with Turkey?

Read more

LIFESTYLES

New road trip

Read more

LIFESTYLES

High-tech in France

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Global warming: A drowning planet

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Christian Kastrop, Director of Policy Studies, OECD

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy's political comeback: Did he ever leave?

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

    France ‘botched’ Toulouse gunman investigation

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Spotlight on troubled suburbs amid terror fears

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    ‘Unprecedented’ Holocaust tribute by French imams

    Read more

COMMENT(S)