the delicate position taken by Muslim leaders on the war

the delicate position taken by Muslim leaders on the war

A delicate balance. Since the Hamas massacres on October 7, official Muslim leaders who speak out on the war in the Middle East and its repercussions in France have tried to both denounce anti-Muslim acts while condemning anti-Semitism. To alert on the situation of Palestinian civilians, while criticizing the actions of Hamas.

Illustration of this balancing act which does not want to give up anything on one side or the other, the French Council of Muslim Faith affirmed on Wednesday November 8 that it would not participate in the march against anti-Semitism on Sunday November 12 , on the grounds that it had the objective of “denounce anti-Semitism without a word on Islamophobia”.

She is therefore not “not likely to bring together” in the eyes of the CFCM, adding that the march could “be interpreted by Islamophobes as a sign of impunity. » However, the CFCM claims to have “always fought against anti-Semitism”A ” poison “ that need “fight tirelessly. » The organization thus calls both for “the release of innocent hostages held in Gaza” and to “stopping indiscriminate bombing” on the Palestinian enclave.

Arcom alert

A few days earlier, Monday November 6, the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Chems-Eddine Hafiz, as well as the president of Muslims of France (formerly UOIF, close to the Muslim Brotherhood) published a joint press release to “express their deep concern” in front of the “rise in racist acts, anti-Muslim hatred and discrimination”. They said to each other “also concerned” over there “resurgence of anti-Semitic acts”. The rector of the Paris Mosque spoke with the president of the Audiovisual and Digital Regulatory Authority (Arcom), Roch-Olivier Maistre, on Tuesday November 7, on the subject of “the trivialization of anti-Muslim discourse. »

These statements followed several positions taken by editorialists described as “Islamophobic” in the media. On October 31 on CNews, lawyer Arno Klarsfeld said: “Jews in the Western world have to hide, take off their yarmulkes, because there is a Muslim minority that is active. »

A few days earlier, in a newspaper column The world published on October 19, the president of the Union of Mosques of France and co-president of the CFCM Mohammed Moussaoui also considered that “French citizens of Muslim faith are put in the dock by opportunists of all stripes who harbor unbearable suspicion towards them. »

These positions to warn against anti-Muslim acts refer to the balanced position to take in the face of the conflict. Once again, voices of Muslim intellectuals attempted to condemn the actions of Hamas, demand a ceasefire and warn about the situation of civilian populations in Gaza. On France Culture on October 18, Ghaleb Bencheikh, president of the Fondation de l’Islam de France, declared that “the real horror had arisen on October 7” and asserted that“No cause, no matter how noble, involves the slaughter of innocents. »

In a text published on the Internet, the liberal Muslim intellectual Faker Korchane affirmed that: “his unwavering, total, unreserved support for the Palestinian cause” didn’t stop him “to be critical of actions undertaken in the name of this cause”and described the attack as unarmed civilians “unacceptable, horrible and unacceptable”while recalling the abuses suffered by Palestinians since 1948.

Prudence of imams

Yet, far from official voices, social networks allow more uninhibited voices to be heard, which may resemble support for Hamas. Thus a Muslim preacher followed affirmed in a post “categorically refuse to adhere to the strategy of demonizing Hamas”of which “the only goal” would be “discredit any form of resistance to the apartheid regime which has been exerted on Palestinians for more than seventy years. » A publication that received 2000 likes.

At the grassroots level, however, the position taken by imams in their sermons seems difficult, which explains the cautious silence of some, caught between the pressure of public authorities and that of their community. In a press release dated October 26, the CFCM mentioned the imams who are “sometimes the target of politicians who criticize them for having “expressed themselves poorly” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also of certain Muslims in France who criticize them for “not expressing themselves enough” on the conflict. »

“The imams are paralyzed”notes Haoues Seniguer, lecturer in political science at Sciences Po Lyon and specialist in Islamism, who observes that “they do not know how to take this question”: “If they take a position, they fear that their words will be distorted outside, and if they do not do so, they are hounded by the faithful who ask them to express in relation to the suffering experienced by the Palestinians. »

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