CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 19 August 2017

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Not in our name

PARIS (AsiaNews): A group of around 60 Muslim imams came together in Paris on July 10 at the Champs-Elysées where a policeman, Xavier Jugelé, was killed in April this year, before setting out on a Muslim March Against Terror which included stops in European cities that have been the victims of terrorism.
 
They boarded a bus bound for Berlin and then moved onto Brussels, where they were welcomed by representatives of the Belgium government.
 
The next destination was listed as London before backtracking across the English Channel to visit towns in France that have been hit by the hand of terrorism.
 
Sheikh David Munir, an imam from the central mosque in Lisbon, welcomed the initiative, describing it as an historic event in Europe.
 
Munir said, “Some people commit crimes in the name of Islam and we are here to say ‘not in our name’.”
 
In Berlin, the imams were warmly welcomed by leaders from the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic religions, as well as representatives of the government at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
 
Together with other Muslim leaders, they gathered at Breitscheidplatz, where an attack on 19 December 2016 left 12 people dead and 50 wounded. There they prayed together with local Islamic, Christian and Jewish representatives.
 
Hocine Drouiche, an imam from Nîmes, described the march as sending a clear message of brotherhood against terrorism.
 
“Today is the time to denounce political Islam. Islamists must stop holding Islam hostage,” Drouiche told Al-Mouwatin Television.
 
“Muslims have to adapt to western values, because they are human values that spiritual Islam carries and teaches us, namely humanism,” he said.
 
The imam of peace, said that he believes Muslims in the west must work decisively together for coexistence.
 
He described coexistence as sharing the same country with Christians, Jews, atheists and Buddhists. “If a fire is lit, no one will be spared from the flames,” he prophesied.
 
The imams denounced the crimes committed in the name of Islam in strong language and are publicising their march as a call to stop the wave of hatred which they say can only lead to sectarian strife.
 
They called the ambition of the Islamic State a bid to export war to Europe, to pit people against each other, divide the young people of Europe and split European society on the basis of religion.
 
They called on European society to remain strongly aware that the true aim of the Islamic State is to destroy intercommunal coexistence.
 
The Muslim March Against Terror ended on Bastille Day, the national day of France, July 14, where it began at the Champ-de-Mars in Paris. Once again Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox representatives were waiting to greet them, before honouring the victims of Islamist terrorism alongside them.

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