Friday April 27, 2018
The French have always been virulently Islamophobic. The latest call by 300 leading figures, however, demanding that Muslim leaders “reject parts of the Qur’an” has sparked outrage across a broad cross section of society.
Published in the French daily Le Parisien on Sunday April 22, the letter is titled “Manifesto against the new anti-Semitism.” It alleges that verses of the Qur’an call for “the murder and punishment of Jews, Christians, and non-believers.” They demand that “Muslim authorities” expunge these verses.
Signed by 300 French public figures – including the former president Nicolas Sarkozy, three former premiers and several MPs–has sparked outrage across France.
Sarkozy is facing corruption charges over allegations that he received 50 million euros from the later Libyan leader, Muammar Qaddafi who was lynched by a mob in October 2011. The French had led the assault on Libya.
The putative former French ruler fancying himself as a latter-day Napoleon thought he would bury the evidence of his corruption by getting Qaddafi murdered. Facts, however, are stubborn things and have a way of emerging in unexpected ways.
Son of Hungarian immigrants, Sarkozy is the leading Islamophobe in France in a society that has gained notoriety for anti-Muslim sentiment.
The letter, however, has been widely denounced as “Vile, racist, contemptible, Islamophobic, provocative.”
Nearly 30 Imams at various mosques in France responded to the so-called “manifesto,” warning that it could inflame relations between religious communities in the country.
Head of the Great Mosque of Bordeaux, Tareq Obrou, expressed outrage at the scandalous letter, pointing out that “attributing anti-Semitism to Islam almost constitutes blasphemy, as two-thirds of the Qur’an’s prophets are Jewish.”
“This makes no sense,” he added, further insisting: “The Qur’an does not call for murder, it calls for fighting back against those that launch wars of aggression against Muslims. This is the same misinterpretation made by a number of ignorant Muslims, delinquents who pick and choose texts depriving them of their historical context.”
The Muslim response to the so-called “manifesto” was published Tuesday April 24 in the French daily Le Monde. It condemned terrorism and anti-Semitism, and also rejected the conflations made by the now scandalous “new anti-Semitism” manifesto.
“We call on our other fellow citizens, particularly intellectuals and politicians, to be more discerning. Because these criminal practices claimed to be in the name of Islam could in effect confirm clichés already burned into people’s minds," read the Le Monde column.
It further added, "Some have already seen (in this manifesto) a long awaited opportunity to incriminate an entire religion. They no longer hesitate to publicly propagate, including in the media, that the Qur’an itself calls for murder. This pernicious idea is incredibly violent.”
The Imam of the Great Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, reacting to the manifesto pointed to “The unjust and delirious accusations of anti-Semitism leveled against French citizens of Muslim faith and against Islam in this column presents the risk of pitting religious communities against one another.”