Nîmes (AsiaNews) – Unless political Islam is put aside, "Fr Hamel will not be the last victim of this madness," said Dr Hocine Drouiche, the Algerian-born imam of Nîmes (France) and vice-president of the Conference of French Imams.
For him, it is this political Islam, taught in Europe’s mosques, that drives young people to “die for God instead of living by doing good and helping humans on earth." This type of Islam, which has been rejected by millions of Muslims, stands out thanks to the support provided by "foreign countries" (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Emirates, Turkey, etc.), but also thanks to the complacency of European politicians, eager to do business with such "foreign" countries.
In addition to this, many French Muslim leaders are too complacent and quiet, the same who were present at the memorial service marking the first anniversary of the murder of Fr Hamel, on Wednesday.
For Drouiche, reforming the teaching of Islam is the only way to build an Islam that contributes to European society. Without this, "it will always have to suffer. And its crisis will make the whole world suffer."
For the past few centuries, Islam has experienced a deep theological crisis. At the same time, it has placed the whole world face to face with the serious problem of terrorism. From Bataclan and Brussels to Berlin, London, and Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, the name of Islam has always been present in terrorist attacks.
It has become like a toy box: inside Islam one can find whatever one wants. Texts of tolerance and forgiveness exist, but so do texts of violence and hate, especially in the hadiths and religious opinions (fatwa).
Millions of Muslims no longer see themselves in this political Islam, which presents itself as peaceful and tolerant, but cannot do without victimisation and conflict, or hatred towards others. Thousands of Muslims are ashamed at seeing their religion become an ideology of death and terrorism.
Most Islamic leaders in France and Europe come from political Islam or work for foreign countries that use the presence of Islam and Muslims as a political tool in managing their relations with European countries.
European Muslims were surprised by the wave of Islamic terrorism that struck the cities of Europe. At the same time, they have not been able to give reassuring answers to European citizens. The latter were waiting for a clear and strong condemnation on their part.
The texts of hatred, the lack of reform and the immobility of many imams and Islamic leaders have indirectly encouraged the terrorist industry to act on behalf of Islam. These leaders did not hesitate to:
1. fight republican* imams who unequivocally condemned the attacks and visited the places of the attacks after the crime, calling instead on the authorities not to receive them nor deal with them;
2. refuse to visit the sites of the attacks by saying that Islam had no responsibility;
3. refuse to issue a fatwa condemning these criminals as non-Muslims;
4. try to justify the crimes of terrorists, citing marginalisation and discrimination against Muslims in the banlieues (poor neighbourhoods) of France and some European countries;
5. make alliances with Islamist groups known for their hatred and violence, in particular towards Jews and Westerners;
6. exclude from mosques and work tolerant imams, trying to discredit them through state-recognised councils. This is the case of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (Conseil français du culte musulman), which has launched a merciless war against republican imams.
Because of this situation, no strong message has been sent to terrorists making them understand that Muslims are also their first enemy.
The most shocking event was Fr Jacques Hamel’s murder, his throat cut, in his church. How could two young Muslims do that? How did they get to this point of hate and wickedness? Did they pray in a mosque? Did they listen to one imam in particular? In what family did they live? French Muslim leaders have not shown any interest in these questions. No meeting of imams was called! No serious study has been carried out to understand this crime and many others!
When we asked these questions, we were dismissed from our jobs. We were accused of being collaborators, traitors, and Zionists! When we launched the Muslim March against Terror on July 8 to send a strong message of condemnation against terrorism and make Muslims wake up and take their share of responsibility, these leaders did not hesitate to organise a press conference in Paris to denounce our action and insult us!
What is surprising is that these are the same leaders the President of the Republic invited to attend the memorial service at the place where Fr Hamel was assassinated (God rest his soul).
Such doublespeak is not reassuring for European societies anymore. They no longer trust political Islam or even Islam itself. This kind of an Islam cannot take an important place in the European scene if it does not reassure the majority of the local population, which is starting to wonder about its own culture and values.
With the clientelism of certain politicians and imams and Muslim leaders who lack courage, the Islam that today is disrupting the whole world will not be reformed even tomorrow.
I am afraid this will not happen very soon and Fr Hamel will not be the last victim of this madness coming from a victimist political Islam that never ceases to generate young people who want to die for God instead of living by doing good and helping humans on earth.
If Islam does not change its vision of life and how it sees non-Muslims, it will always have to suffer. And its crisis will make the whole world suffer. We still hope; unfortunately, the solution will not come tomorrow because the crisis of Islam is serious, ancient and deep.
Making matters worse, most Islamic leaders are under the influence of foreign countries. Likewise, most Muslims see themselves as victims and blame the West which they see as not loving Islam but rather bent on destroying it!
Political Islam manipulates Muslims with conspiracy theories and victimisation, whilst at the same time slamming terrorism, when it is in fact the one that causes hate and cruelty. The souls of the innocent (killed) in Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Manchester, Toulouse, and London, and the holy soul of Fr Hamel will remain eternal witnesses against these barbarians, but also against all their accomplices.
* Imam of Nîmes, vice president of the Conference of Imams of France
** In France, republicanism refers to the direct relationship between citizen and state, without any political mediation based on local, religious, or racial identification.