In order to commemorate the upcoming anniversary of the tragic Toulouse terror attack in France, a delegation of 16 imams, representing the African, Senegalese, Moroccan and Egyptian communities living in France, visited Israeli President Shimon Peres and stated that they are opposed to terrorism being committed against the Jewish people in the name of Islam. By doing so, they demonstrated that those who murder Jewish children out of racial hatred do not represent the Muslim community in France or the principles of the Islamic faith, which Islamists constantly seek to high-jack in a vain attempt to promote their fanatical & intolerant political ideology.

According to Imam Hassen Chalghoumi, the anniversary of the Toulouse terror attack “is a terrible day of mourning for us, a day on which terror struck from which we all suffered. I wanted to tell you, Mr. President, that we Muslims are victims like the Jews, of the same extremist who went on a journey of murder, who took the lives of children. We are here to say to our brothers the Jews and the French: We are all threatened by terror, hurt by terror and we all call with optimism for peace at the end of this terrible year. We teach the believers that human life is holier than the holy sites! Holier than Mecca, the Vatican or Jerusalem.”

Imam Chalghoumi, in addition to opposing terrorism, is also a supporter of peace with Israel. He asserted, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not an excuse to hate the State of Israel – we are not interested in that hate and do not believe in it. We visited Israel and saw the country; we want to know Israel as it really is and to get to know people from different perspectives.” Imam Chalghoumi claimed that this delegation of imams was interested in working towards trying to bridge the gap between Jews and Muslims. Additionally, the imams claimed that they really appreciated how Israel is a country that respects freedom of religion and grants all religious groups the opportunity to practice their faith without infringement. The Imams asserted, “We are here to tell our French and Jewish brethren that we are all together in our opposition to terror and in our desire for peace.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres was deeply moved by this visit of 12 imams in France. Upon the imams stating that they were interested in more cooperation between the Muslim and Jewish communities in France, he asserted, “We, the Jews, have been victims of discrimination, and that is why we aspire for a world where everyone is free of it. We have a shared interest in resolving our disputes in peace rather than allowing terrorism destroy any chance for peace. The Jews and Muslims share a father, our father Abraham.”

Peres furthermore asserted, “Whoever was responsible for the murder of French citizens and Jewish children in Toulouse showed the ugly face of terror, and your words show the way of peace. You are leaders of an Islam which seeks peace, as we do. I am very grateful for your words, and I thank you for coming. I see in you brothers in this path, dialogue between us is important and valuable and that is why this meeting between us is so important. We will work together, for all the peoples of the world, for Israeli’s and Palestinians, for peace in the world.

By Rachel Avraham