French imam: Europe should emulate Israel’s ‘magnificent mosaic’

Moderate imam, who has visited Israel previously, says Europe should learn from the Jewish state’s culture of religious pluralism and tolerance.

By World Israel News Staff

A French imam praised Israel’s atmosphere of religious plurality, tolerance and co-existence during a recent visit to Jerusalem, telling The Media Line that France and the rest of Europe should be inspired by the Jewish State’s example.

“Just in this small room… you hear people talking in Arabic and in Hebrew, talking of peace – salaam, shalom – and it’s a dream,” Tunisian-born imam Hassen Chalghoumi told The Media Line during an interview at their offices.

“In Europe it is difficult to see such things as we can find here,” he said, alluding to antisemitism and violent Islamist attacks against non-religious Europeans that have rocked the continent in recent years.

In Jerusalem, “there is a magnificent mosaic of people,” he said. “Jerusalem [is a] link for the three religions, from the past to the future.”

Chalghoumi is widely known as a moderate Islamic voice in France, harshly condemning terror attacks, while encouraging other Muslims to speak out against extremists.

However, his views have resulted in his suffering from “death threats” and needing to be “protected by police every day.” That reality, Chalghoumi says, means that other Muslims with similar views avoid speaking out.

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Chalghoumi said the Abraham Accords represent the realization of a “dream” and that Arab countries who normalize relations with Israel are part of the “axis of good,” whereas nations that continue to deny Israel’s existence are members of the “axis of evil.”

Turkey, Qatar, and Iran are part of the evil axis due to their animosity towards Israel and support for the Muslim Brotherhood, he told The Media Line.

“The Iranian regime is a diabolical regime that is making Islam into an instrument for political reasons,” he said.

While Chalghoumi acknowledged right-wing racism against Muslims is a problem in France, he sees the greatest danger as coming from the radical left, whom he categorized as “accomplices to the Islamists.”

“They want to import the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to France,” he told The Media Line. “They are spreading the hate of Israel. They destroyed the Muslim youth through the speech of victimization.”

One of the main sources of radicalization is social media, he noted. “Social media is responsible for 80% of radical Islamists,” Chalghoumi said.. “Google, Twitter, Facebook, all of them – j’accuse!”