09/21/2020, 12.26
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Marie Leeze, a Muslim convert, left without a funeral

by Hocine Drouiche*

Her family includes Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and atheists. Other imams refused to pray for her because they "suspected" that she was not Muslim. For Imam Drouiche, this type of Islam “acts with the aim of separating communities, creating conflicts and ultimately increasing resentments between French citizens with different beliefs.”

Nîmes (AsiaNews) – Ms Marie Leeze, a Muslim woman, died at the beginning of last week in Montpellier. All the imams contacted by her family refused to come to pray for the peace and salvation of her soul at the religious ceremony before the funeral.

Without even presenting condolences to her children, a pseudo-imam who preaches in the city’s grand mosque – and who gathers young people in a centre where he proffers so-called "Muslim" teachings – replied laconically to the deceased’s children: "Your mother was not Muslim. Our religion forbids praying for a non-Muslim.”

The family was shocked by this. Helpless and dejected, they did not know what to do to offer her a funeral ceremony respectful of her faith. The family includes Muslims, Catholics, Protestants and atheists.

One of Marie Leeze's children called me for help and explained the situation. The man, distraught, did not even know if his mother was Muslim or Catholic.

Listening to his story, and despite his ignorance about the faith professed by her mother, I proposed to travel from Nîmes and Montpellier to share the family’s mourning and pray for the salvation of their mother's soul.

Under the circumstances, for me, what matters is the human element, even before faith and religion. This case reveals the lack of humanity of some Muslim representatives, who select their faithful, refuse to accompany the dead in the name of outdated, segregationist, anti-Muslim and above all anti-human principles.

This is further evidence that we are dealing with an inhuman direction taken by the so-called official representatives of Islam in France, whose fundamental task is to train imams, whose duty is to be at the service of Muslim and non-Muslim believers, and who should provide a message of harmony, not of separatism.

It is inadmissible that that woman was left without religious accompaniment due to doubts over her real belief. The case reveals once again the true nature of this institution, beyond all control, which acts with the aim of separating communities, creating conflicts and ultimately increasing resentments between French citizens with different beliefs.

Yet, there are several verses in the Holy Qurʼān that lead to tolerance and humanism, contrary to the interpretations by some extremist imams who teach Islam in France.

Our modern societies require us today to be increasingly open to others, show more tolerance, more humanism in the interpretation and application of our founding religious texts.

Our age raises fundamental questions that cannot be dealt with by fatwas or hadiths (religious edicts) established, promulgated and written in the Middle Ages.

Such texts, fatwas and hadiths are not often in harmony with the texts of the Qurʼān, and produce nothing but dangerous, fanatical, violent and backward thinking, incompatible with France’s social reality and with the original and historical foundations of the Muslim faith.

In a previous publication, I appealed to Muslim leaders and organisations to seize the day and launch a grand reform and update our institutions to train imams of France in order to select humanism and human dignity in lieu of retrograde teachings, based on fanatical interpretations of other eras, of aggressive sermons that lead above all to a head-on collision, conflict, and the rejection of differences.

What is clear is that today the reverse is happening; the opposite is being taught and the danger is that there will soon be an explosion here and that these rifts could degenerate into more serious clashes in the country.

A "faith" that imposes itself on man, based on inhuman precepts and interpretations, on rejection of others and opposition to anyone, cannot be considered a faith that arises from a personal choice, but comes from a dangerous, manipulative and destructive ideology.

I vow that all those who leave us, be they Muslim Jewish, Christian, agnostic, atheist, or of any religion may freely choose their spiritual or secular accompaniment entrusted to us religious, or to lay people, to accompany them as they wish, in the most dignified way possible, and their mourning families, without adding pain and sorrow to their suffering.

The human side comes first. Faith is a personal choice and can only be at the service of people and not the other way around.

* Imam in Nîmes

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