‘A Brave Human Being’: Wave of Social Media Support for French Imam Facing Islamist Threats for Interfaith Advocacy
February 16, 2022
Last month, a prominent French-Tunisian imam known for promoting interfaith ties revealed that he and his family had been facing threats from Islamists for years, ever since he called for Holocaust commemorations to be respected in 2005.
In a France 2 TV interview, Hassen Chalghoumi — the 50-year-old imam of the municipal Drancy mosque near Paris and president of the Conference of Imams of France — recalled, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), “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.”
“I started to receive 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,” he added. “And then I received anonymous calls and letters. In 2009, they torched my car, and they attacked my house.”
Following the interview, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) launched a campaign to gather messages of support for Imam Chalghoumi, to show him he was not alone in combating extremism.
CAM is proud to stand with Imam Chalghoumi, who is a brave voice for religious tolerance at a time of rising bigotry.
Below is a sampling of responses we received to our social media query.
Thomas Michael McDowell — “Grateful for your courageous stand & endeavor!”
Boaz Hizami — “Thank you for speaking up after all we are all Human being we are all equal god bless”
Kat Levy — “Thank you Imam for your support and may God bless and keep your family safe.”
Candi Zell — “Thank you for standing with us. I hope you and your family stay safe and well.”
Blanche Freund — “Read CAM for current incidents re antisemitism. Educate, educate others. This imam is standing up to educating on his pulpit. A brave human being.”
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cbgffjjbt — “Imam, thank you. May Allah continue to protect you and your family”
mfaldini — “Un homme respectable avec qui on aime parler et l’écouter un vrai religieux il faudrait que tous soient comme lui et tout irait mieux”
irishgingersnap — “Stay strong Imam!”
rosaly100 — “Vous êtes un Jean Moulin! Vous sauvez des Hommes! Merci Monsieur! Inch Allah!”
lajolla25 — “Thank you for your bravery and morals @chalghoumi_hassen May you be blessed and protected!”
For years, French-Tunisian Imam @Imam1chalghoumi has called for Holocaust commemorations to be respected.
Because of this and his support for building interfaith ties, he and his family constantly face death threats from radical Islamists. (1\2)https://t.co/6DJPOue4L9
— Combat Antisemitism Movement (@CombatASemitism) January 31, 2022
Rabbi Berel Scharf — “Thank you Imam! May Allah watch over you and your entire family!”
Mamartine — “homme de bien. J ai un énorme respect pour son. Humanité et intelligence”
Jon Silktree — “I admire your courage and humanity. May you safely persevere against senseless hate.”
Helene Keller-Lind — “He truly deserves it. He is a true man of peace he is fighting for in spite of a very hostile environment as can clearly be seen here. The # of antisemitic attacks there has risen in a dreadful way.”
LarsPe — “Stay strong and believe in what you do. Never give up. You‘re doing the right thing. #NeverForget”
Anila Ali — “@ammwecofficial women stand with you, Imam. Fighting extremism is Allah’s work. Allah made us Abrahamic cousins so we may get to know each other. Sending you prayers.”