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February 4, 2022 3:37 pm
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Unfazed by Threats From Radicals, French Imam Calls for Liberation of Islam From ‘Islamism’

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Crif President Francis Kalifat (r) with prominent French imam Hassen Chalghoumi at a Paris ceremony on the first anniversary of the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks. Photo: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer.

A Muslim imam known in France for his efforts to advance interfaith dialogue with Jews and Christians this week sounded a stark warning about the dangers of radical Islam as the country heads for presidential elections later this year.

Islamism was a “global evil” that “hates the light” and “endangers modern society,” Imam Hassen Chalgoumi observed in an television interview on Wednesday.

The imam of Drancy, a suburb of Paris, Chalgoumi accused Islamist ideologues of having taken his faith “hostage.”

“When we criticize Islamism, we liberate Islam, we liberate the Muslim world, and not only in France,” declared Chalgoumi during the interview on the BFMTV network.

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Last month, Chalgoumi made headlines in France after he gave an emotional TV interview recounting the harassment he and his family have been subjected to by Muslim radicals.

He said the harassment dated back to 2005, when he called for the commemoration of the Holocaust to be respected.

“I made a solemn appeal to respect the memory of the Holocaust, to also think about what people did to their fellow human beings, the consequences of racism, hatred, antisemitism … But unfortunately, my words were misunderstood. Two days later, they ransacked my house,” Chalgoumi said on the France 2 network on Jan. 27.

The imam said in the same interview that he had received “death threats in the name of a cause that has nothing to do with [my words] — the Palestinian cause, in the name of an ideology of hatred, perhaps against Israeli policy, or out of actual antisemitism.” In addition to threatening phone calls and letters, Chalgoumi’s house has been attacked and his car torched.

At another point in the interview, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Chalgoumi reported on a conversation with his wife in which he wondered whether he should continue with his work given the threats against the family.

“She said, ‘no, don’t stop. Continue,'” Chalgoumi recalled.

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