11/02/2020, 13.13
ISLAM - FRANCE
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Imam of Nîmes: The time has come for Muslims to speak with one voice, against fear

by Hocine Drouiche

Embarrassment, fear and silence among the Muslim leaders in the aftermath of the Nice attack. The link between violent Islamism in France and international Islamist terrorism is now evident. It is time to choose which Islam should be proposed to society, making a clean sweep of "Salafist, Brotherhood, Sufi, revolutionary, Wahhabi" Islam. Prayers for the victims in all the churches of France. In Dhaka, 50,000 demonstrate against Macron.

Nîmes (AsiaNews) - With very few exceptions, "no official Muslim leader dares to speak out after the attack in Nice,” says Hocine Drouiche. In a letter to the French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, the Imam of Nîmes asks the political world to distinguish between the different "Islam" present in France, and asks Muslim leaders to choose to follow a "human and republican Islam," Making a clean sweep of "Salafist, Brotherhood, Sufi, revolutionary, Wahhabi" Islam.

Yesterday there was a ceremony for the rededication of Notre Dame Cathedral in Nice, after the bloodshed in the murders committed by Brahim Aouissaoui, the young 21-year-old Tunisian. Comemoration services have been held in all the churches of France in memory of those killed. The police arrested five other people between the ages of 25 and 63, connected in some way with the killer. Today Darmanin travels to Tunis to seek paths of collaboration against Islamist terrorism. Meanwhile, anti-Macron and anti-France demonstrations continue in many Arab and Muslim cities. This morning in Dhaka (Bangladesh) at least 50 thousand people marched, led by the Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam.

Here is the letter that Imam Drouiche sent to his interior minister (translation by AsiaNews).

A large number of French non-Muslims think that the reaction of the majority of French Muslims to the terrorist attacks since 2015 is insufficient. They find it opaque, weak and far from reassuring. It is now clear that immobility and fear dominate Muslim leaders even after the latest tragedy.

Apart from the Imam Chalghoumi of the Drancy Mosque, who is protected by a police patrol night and day, not one official Muslim leader has dared to speak out after the attack in Nice.

French Muslims have the right to peacefully defend the image of the Prophet; they may disagree with some proposals of the President of the Republic, without being associated - in a necessary and obligatory way - with the positions of some countries and leaders of the Arab or Muslim world, who are deliberately exploiting events to settle their political and historical accounts with France. It is their habit and they use these delicate subjects to create a cohesion of the Muslim world in the face of this superficial aversion.

Personally, I am shocked by those caricatures, but I remain convinced that freedom of expression is an essential and indispensable element of peace and cohesion in our multicultural and multi-faith society. The French Muslims, thank God, have the right to disagree because they live in a democratic society that respects freedom of expression, but also free will. From this it follows that there is no reason to associate with the murderers of French people or hatred of France.

The barbarous assassination of Samuel Paty demonstrated the evident relationship that exists between internal Islamic-fascism and bloody international terrorism. The Nice attack also provided flagrant proof of international Islamist influence over a large part of France's Muslim youth. Are Imams and Muslim leaders aware of this? What can they do and how can they react and act against this calamity? How can they combat this internal and external danger? To this day, immobility and fear of speaking out dominate the majority of Muslim actors on the ground.

Yet, this bonfire that is inflamed on our national territory by Erdogan, Pakistan, Malaysia and Bangladesh, and a part of the Muslim world in the end none of them will suffer consequences for the tragic events that take place in the name of Islam and the prophet.

All these issues are on the table in Paris and it is urgent that the imams and courageous Muslim leaders, who reject immobility and resignation in the face of this adversity, take clear and republican positions, and above all unite to fight their differences, speak out with one voice, so that the fear that animates them in this difficult period does not invade our whole society and deepen even more the gap between French Muslims and the whole national community.

Because if we want to be heard then we must speak with one voice.

The response of some imams regarding the global debate on the essence and project of Islam is not at all consistent. It is evident that the Holy Koran, the Prophet (SAWS) are sacred icons for all Muslims in the world. The question that the whole world raises is simple: Who has the right to represent and express themselves in the name of the Muslim religion and the Prophet? The Salafist, Brotherhood, Jihadist, Wahhabi, Shiite, Sunni, Sufi, or secular Muslim current? What Islam do French Muslims want to practice and live in France? Salafist, Brotherhood, Sufi, Republican, revolutionary, Wahhabi Islam? These questions are absolutely fundamental and legitimate. The clear choice of a human and republican Islam that combats all extremist "Islam" will definitively resolve the dangerous problem on the issue of Islam in France.

If we are not able to provide a clear answer to this great debate, then the solution will be imposed on us with violence from the outside, with serious, dramatic, irreversible consequences. It is now time for the public authorities and our official representatives to assimilate this explosive issue.

Nîmes, 30 October 2020

Hocine Drouiche

Imam of Nîmes

Vice-president of the conference of imams of France.

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