Muslim, Jewish leaders in Europe and Middle East together condemn terror attack

by Gregory Tomlin |

(REUTERS/Christian Hartmann)Sheet music is seen amongst candles near the site of the attack at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, November 15, 2015.

PARIS (Christian Examiner) – On Sunday Muslim and Jewish leaders in Paris together paid their respects to the victims of the terror attack carried out by operatives of the Islamic State, the Guardian has reported.

Leaders of the two communities gathered outside the Bataclan concert hall, where 89 people died during a concert featuring the American band Eagles of Death Metal. Five other attacks killed dozens more, bringing the death toll in the deadliest attacks in France's history to 132.

Standing before the makeshift shrine outside the theater and carrying white roses, the faith leaders began singing the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, the paper said.

This is the time for the world to stand united against this common enemy, in grief and in resolve. Leaders of all creeds, political colors and nationalities must now come together and act. Just as you spoke out earlier today, the world too must not be silent in the face of this threat. We must all denounce this threat loudly and clearly, and confront it.
- Ronald S. Lauder, World Jewish Congress

Hassen Chalghoumi, an imam in the Paris suburb of Drancy and president of the Imams' Conference of France, condemned hate speech from his location in front of the display and said "now is the time to close these places of hate." He was presumably referencing mosques in the country that may have been radicalized.

Chalghoumi, who himself is under a death sentence from ISIS, said 1.5 million people are "hostages" of the terror group, which he called by the name "Daesh" – a derogatory term in Arabic used to refer to a bigot.

"1.5 million people are hostages of Daesh;1.5 million people are hostages of these barbarians who are sullying the name of Islam and Muslims. It's time to say no to this barbarity," Chalghoumi said.

Another Muslim imam, Tarek Oubrou of Bordeaux, also condemned the attacks. He told the French newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche, that the murders call for a "triple condemnation – ethical, legal and theological."

"Ethical because no morality allows for the killing of innocent people, legal because these acts do not respect war as it is decreed in the Muslim tradition, and theological because these suicide bombers are convinced they're going to heaven when they actually risk finding themselves in hell."

Oubrou said Muslims in France have to protest the attacks "to say that we don't accept these actions being done in the name of our religion."

According to the London-based Jewish Chronicle, France's Representative Council of Jewish Institutions said "jihadist fanaticism" must be confronted by all democratic nations.

"We must fight it without mercy, without relenting, in order to vanquish it," the statement said.

France's Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Haim Korsia, also instructed Jews to undertake a three-day period of mourning for those who lost their lives in the attack.

Korsia said France must "heal its wounds, recover and move forward in a united way in order to fight against terrorism and all those who exploit and lead astray religion to kill in the name of God."

Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), said in a letter to French President Francois Hollande that the attacks represented "one of the most sickening forms of human violence one can imagine."

He added:

"For centuries, the citizens of this great city have been at the forefront of the fight for freedom and democracy, against slavery and fanaticism. Paris has always been, and will always be, one of the symbols for the freedoms we can enjoy today."

"This is the time for the world to stand united against this common enemy, in grief and in resolve. Leaders of all creeds, political colors and nationalities must now come together and act. Just as you spoke out earlier today, the world too must not be silent in the face of this threat. We must all denounce this threat loudly and clearly, and confront it," Lauder wrote.

Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, also called on all European governments to oppose the Islamic State "in all its forms."

"We are also aware of how vulnerable the Jewish communities of France are and we urge the government not to neglect the security and protection of Jewish institutions," Goldschmidt said.

Other Muslim leaders, including Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Qatar Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah, and Joko Widodo, president of Indonesia, also condemned the attack.

Rouhani, however, sits atop of the regime responsible for significant terrorist activity in the Middle East and Europe over the past 40 years. Iran supplies weapons to and funds Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and a number of other terror groups.