Turkish President Erdogan ‘Does Not Represent Muslims or Muslim World,’ Top French Imam Declares
The head of the organization representing Muslim clerics in France on Tuesday pushed back against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attacks on French President Emmanuel Macron and his call for a boycott of French goods.
“It’s shameful,” Imam Hassen Chalghoumi — president of the Conference of Imams of France — told the French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF in an interview with its newsletter on Tuesday.
“The Turkish president does not represent Muslims, nor the Muslim world,” Chalghoumi said, pointing out that Erdogan “has political disagreements with many countries in the region such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt.”
Chalghoumi also denounced Erdogan’s accusation — made during a speech on Monday in which he declared that Muslims in Europe now were being “subjected to a lynch campaign similar to that against Jews before World War II” — that France was “Islamophobic.”
Said Chalghoumi: “In France, Muslims have as much freedom and enjoy the same rights as all their fellow citizens. There are 2,500 Muslim houses of prayer. The laws of the republic allow for everyone to live their faith freely.”
The imam called on “French citizens of the Muslim faith” to rally behind Macron.
“Let’s be strong together,” Chalghoumi urged.
The row between Erdogan and Macron stemmed from the French leader’s charge that radical Islamists were fomenting “separatism” in France.
Macron’s comments came in the wake of the shocking decapitation by a Muslim refugee earlier this month of Samuel Paty, a 41-year old school teacher from Paris who showed his class controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a lesson on free speech.