11/20/2015, 00.00
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French imams slam terrorists for destroying Islam’s future and that of its children

by Consiglio degli imam di Francia
Following the Paris attacks, the Council released a "solemn declaration" in 2,500 French mosques during today’s prayers. Foreign imams who know nothing about Europe are accused of pushing people towards hate and fanaticism. The council appeals to Muslim families to monitor their children, to avoid seeing them turned into “terrorist bombs”. It also expresses appreciation for the freedoms enjoyed in France and Europe. “We cannot stick our heads in the sand;” condemning attacks is no longer enough.

Paris (AsiaNews) – In the wake of the recent Paris attacks, the Council of Imams of France issued a "solemn declaration" that was made public today during Friday prayers in 2,500 French mosques. This is an unprecedented step.

In its statement, the Council slams foreign imams who manipulate young Muslims and turn “our universal Islam into a hateful and sectarian religion”.

It calls on Muslim men and women to appreciate the freedoms they enjoy in Europe and monitor their children to prevent them from becoming prey of radical imams who turn them into "terrorist bombs".

For the Council, Muslims must not stick their heads in the sand; instead, they must work together to rid the Islamic religion of the ideas of hate. The fate of young people and Islam is at stake.

What follows is the declaration from the Council of Imams of France (translated from the French by AsiaNews).

Dear Muslim men, dear Muslim women,

Islam, the religion of peace, has become a hostage in the hands of extremists and ignorant people. Islam has existed in Europe for a century. It has always lived in harmony and coexistence with European societies until the coming of some Muslims whom you know, because they pray with us in our mosques. These are young people who were born in Europe, who not speak Arabic well, who have no diplomas in Islamic theology. We used imams imported from abroad who do not even speak the French language, and who do not know the real problems young French and European Muslims face in Western societies!

Dear Muslim men, dear Muslim women,

for years, it was said that Western-style Islam does not look like the Islam we knew. According to the ideology of these ignorant Islamists, the Islam of tolerance, humanism, openness and inter-faith dialogue has turned into treason and collaboration with the West, to the point that tolerant imams have been threatened within their mosques by extremists who chose inflexibility and hate against all those who are different, even if those who are different are Muslims.

Muslim officials in France are not up to the true values ​​of Islam nor to the values ​​of the Republic. They turned our universal Islam into a hateful and sectarian religion that does not accept openness and adaptation to European values ​​.These incompetent imams as well as the bankrupt leaders must leave their place to others who are more knowledgeable and open because they failed to reassure both Muslims and the French!

Dear Muslim men, dear Muslim women,

waves of radicalisation will not stop without the cooperation of imams, religious preachers, and ordinary Muslims with the state, legislators, and civil society in the interest of society but especially in the interest and the future of the children of Muslims in Europe. This future is in danger more than even before!

Dear Muslim men, dear Muslim women,

watch out for the people who seek to justify the unjustifiable alleging racism, marginalisation or the history of colonisation. These are but pretexts to cover up their hate and religious fanaticism done in the name of God who created us for love and brotherhood, not war and savagery.

Terrorists had parents! They had families! What did they learn? Are they powerless vis-à-vis the web and social networks?

Dear Muslim men, dear Muslim women,

condemning attacks is no longer enough; we cannot continue to be ostrich-like. We cannot stick our heads in the sand and repeated this wicked phrase, "It's not us, it's them!"

Each imam, each and every Muslim religious leader, must take on his share of responsibility since these criminal attacks were committed in the name of our religion.

Life is hard for Christians, Jews and atheists in the Muslim world. Building a church or synagogue is an impossible dream in Muslim countries unless the president of the republic intervenes! By contrast, Muslims live in freedom and dignity in France and Europe. They build mosques, Islamic centres and religious schools without any disruption or exclusion.

We are Muslim French before we are French Muslims because it is France that brings us all together. Hence, religion must stay in its private space – because it can be a factor of peace and brotherhood so long as we interpret the religious texts in a positive and constructive manner.

Dear Muslim men, dear Muslim women,

many of our youth suffer from a religious, cultural and identity trauma. We must implement the best methods to fight hateful ideas within our religion as well as address the fragility of our Muslim youth vis-à-vis the pseudo Syrio-Hollywoodian Islam that uses images and propaganda to manipulate and radicalise as many young people as possible, in order to turn them into terrorist bombs who want to destroy the values ​​of Western countries. In reality, they will just just destroy the image and future of Islam in Europe and France, a country that has offered us benefits and advantages that we could not find in our country, and this despite all the hardship that are specific to our neighbourhoods and districts.

Dear Muslim men, dear Muslim women,

the future of your religion and the fate of your children are at stake. The decision to act or not to act falls upon us Muslims.

Long live the true values ​​of Islam; long live the true values ​​of the Republic.

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