Tension is rising again between Muslim and Jewish leaders in France. After the refusal of the main Muslim representatives to qualify the October 7 attacks by Hamas as “terrorists” and to go to the march against anti-Semitism on Sunday November 12, it was the words of the imam of the Grand Mosque of Paris on Tuesday November 14 which this time provoked the reaction “outré” Jewish representatives, through the Central Jewish Consistory of France.
Guest on RMC radio, imam Abdelali Mamoun seemed to minimize the seriousness of the anti-Semitic acts perpetrated in France, particularly since the Hamas attack in Israel, asking ” where are “ the approximately 1,500 “anti-Semitic acts that exist in France? » “I am not saying that the figures are false, but they are not revealed, not apparent”regretted this imam of the Grand Mosque of Paris, wishing no “no evidence” but ” elements “such as “such a synagogue was desecrated, such a cemetery was desecrated, such an individual of Jewish faith was attacked”.
— RMC (@RMCInfo) November 14, 2023
“I would like us to reveal them so that we can show solidarity” Jews from France, he continued. A speech which provoked a strong reaction from Jewish representatives. The Central Consistory denounced scandalous remarks, which relay “conspiracy theses, suggesting that the census of anti-Semitic acts does not necessarily correspond to the reality of the facts”. The president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (Crif) rebelled against a “denial of reality” and demanded a sanction against the imam, who according to him had engaged in ” A revisionism in the present.
“Shocking insinuations” for Gérald Darmanin
The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, condemned “ very shocking insinuations (…) held by a guest of RMC » and immediately published details of the anti-religious acts known to the Ministry of the Interior since the start of the year.
Since the start of the year, state services have recorded 131 anti-Muslim acts, 564 anti-Christian acts and 1,762 anti-Semitic acts. Gérald Darmanin also said, “ pso that the facts prevail », to provide details of the nature of anti-Semitic acts. 50% “are tags, posters, banners (among which “death to the Jews” or “swastikas”), 22% of threats and insults, 10% of acts of apology for terrorism, 8% of attacks on property, 6% of suspicious behavior, 2% of assault and battery and 2% of attacks on community places.
The rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Chems-eddine Hafiz, spoke “falsely registered” against the words of the imam. “The Grand Mosque of Paris does not deny, does not minimize or relativize all of the anti-Semitic acts that have occurred in France in recent weeks, and has complete confidence in the figures released by the Ministry of the Interior,” he added, assuring that the imam had informed him of “his regret at having been very confused, when he did not intend to call into question the alarming figures of anti-Semitic acts in France”.
Tense context between religious leaders
This new controversy is part of an already tense context between leaders of the Jewish and Muslim faiths since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas on October 7. Rabbi Moché Lewin, special advisor to the Grand Rabbi of France, announced, Monday, November 13, his resignation from the Commission for the adaptation of the discourse of Islam in France created this year by the Grand Mosque of Paris (GMP) for “ demonstrate the compatibility of Islam with French, multi-confessional and secularized society”
In a press release, Moché Lewin invokes “the refusal to classify as terrorist the massacre perpetrated by Hamas in Israel on October 7 and to participate in the march for the Republic and against anti-Semitism” as the main reasons for his resignation.
The day after the demonstration against anti-Semitism in Paris, religious leaders were collectively received at the Élysée for two hours, the President of the Republic fearing the importation of religious and identity withdrawals from the Middle East onto French soil. . Emmanuel Macron called on religious leaders to increase educational actions on the ground to promote “universalism” And “the values of the Republic”.