Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Why There Aren't More Moderate Muslims

A French imam who supports a ban on the burqa is receiving death threats from his fellow Muslims (80 of them, to be precise). Of course, the major reason why so few Muslims come out in public and defend Western values, such as the equality of women with men, is because their religion itself mandates inequality, and they know this. But the situation is not helped by the fact that moderate Muslims such as Hassan Chalghoumi end up being physically threatened by thier co-religionists for their views.

Extracts from the article:

[Hassan Chalghoumi] told Le Parisien last week that he supported "a legal ban of the burka, which has no place in France, a country where women have been voting since 1945".

The imam, whose mosque is in Drancy, a north-eastern suburb of Paris, also criticised those Muslims who advocated the wearing of the burka, saying they "belong to a tiny minority tradition reflecting an ideology that undermines the Muslim religion. The burka is a prison for women, a tool of sexist domination and Islamist indoctrination.” ...

Chalghoumi’s comments were designed to provoke discussion among the Muslim community in France, but a small minority of radicals considered his pronouncements so insulting that on Monday evening they stormed Chalghoumi’s mosque and threatened to kill him.

He was chairing a meeting of the Conference of Imams, a body established in 2009 to promote better relations between France’s faiths, particularly Jews and Muslims, when a mob of 80 men forced their way into the building. There was a brief scuffle between the two groups, ending in a handful of invaders grabbing the microphone. "They started to cry Allah Akbar and God is great," recounted Chalghoumi. "Then they insulted me, my mosque, the Jewish community and the [French] Republic. They left after an hour and a half."

According to a member of the Conference of Imams, the mob condemned Chalghoumi as an apostate and threatened him with "liquidation, this imam of the Jews"....

Fouad Alaoui, president of the Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (UOIF), said he "wasn't surprised" at the incident. "We've warned him several times to moderate his words because he risks to attract these sort of reactions."

On the streets of Drancy, support appeared thin on ground for Chalghoumi . "If he wants to condemn the burka, why not, but not in the name of our mosque," a man called Malik said, adding that the imam’s recent declarations "have shocked us". Another young Muslim dismissed Chalghoumi as "not an imam but an administrator".

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