The head of the Great Mosque of Bordeaux, Tareq Obrou, above, is one of a number of Muslim leaders who have expressed outrage over an ‘almost blasphemous’ letter signed by by 300 public figures who want ‘hateful’ verses in the Koran struck out.
According to this report, the letter, titled Manifesto against the new anti-Semitism, has been described as:
Vile, racist, contemptible, Islamophobic and provocative
Signatories to the controversial letter, including former President Nicolas Sarkozy, equated Islam with “anti-Semitism” and demanded that “Muslim authorities… strike with obsolescence” verses calling for:
The murder and punishment of Jews, Christians, and non-believers.
They further warned against “Islamist radicalisation” and “a surreptitious ethnic purge” allegedly targeting the Jewish community in the Paris region.
Tareq Obrou hit out at the 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. The Qur’an does not call for murder, it calls for fighting back against hostile people.
This is the same misinterpretation made by a number of ignorant Muslims, delinquents who pick and choose texts depriving them of their historical context.
But Oubrou said last year that:
Oubrou received death threats from radicals who don’t agree with him, but he refused the French government’s offer of protection.
We have to rethink Islamic doctrines in light of our times. One of the reasons for the violence is that some people are interpreting these medieval canons literally. So we have to take Islam out of the context of ancient Arab-Muslim civilizations and adapt it to a modern, globalised, secular society, like France.
Oubrou is also a signatory to a response column, which was written by nearly 30 French imams and published in Le Monde. It condemns terrorism and anti-Semitism, and further discards the conflations made by the now scandalous “new anti-Semitism” manifesto.
The column said:
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.
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.
Chief cleric at the Great Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, above, also reacted to the manifesto by underlining:
The unjust and delirious accusations of anti-Semitism leveled against French citizens of Muslim faith and against Islam … presents the risk of pitting religious communities against one another.
Also writing this week about the gap between the manifesto and the religious and sociological realities of Islam, France’s Jewish essayist and journalist Claude Askolovitch described the text as:
Chilling, for the truth from which it emerges as well as the lies it induces. The manifesto’s injunction disconcerts by its simplicity. There is no pope in Islam, nor a council that could transform a centralised religion … Finally, one does not reform by besieging believers.