Muslim leaders begin European bus tour against terrorism in the name of Islam

FRANCE-RELIGION-ISLAM-MARCHThe tour, involving around 60 imams, will visit the sites of terror attacks by Islamist extremists.

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Muslim leaders launched a European bus tour in Paris on Saturday to express opposition to terrorism in the name of Islam.

Under the banner “Muslims’ march against terrorism,” imams from around Europe and North Africa planned to visit sites of recent terrorist attacks, starting at the Champs Elysees and passing through Germany, Belgium and other parts of France over the next week.

“Our message is clear: Islam cannot be associated with these barbarians and these murders,” who kill in the name of Allah, said Hassen Chalghoumi, the imam of Drancy, France, according to Le Figaro. The initiative is the brainchild of Chalghoumi and Marek Halter, a French-Jewish writer and intellectual.

The tour will land at the site of an attack on a Christmas market last year in Berlin on Monday, before holding a ceremony in Brussels on Tuesday. It is set to stop in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France (visiting the grave of a priest who was stabbed), and a Jewish school that was targeted in Toulouse. It will also pass back through Paris and the Bataclan nightclub, according to the Belgian paper La Libre, wrapping up on July 14 in Nice, where French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to participate in an homage to victims on the anniversary of the truck attack on the Promenade des Anglais.

FULL ARTICLE FROM POLITICO

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French imams, Vatican: ‘Without freedom of expression, the world is in danger’

.- French imams visiting the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue released Thursday a joint communique condemning the attack on Charlie Hebdo and calling for freedom of expression.

“Without freedom of expression, the world is in danger,” the Jan 8. statement reads.

It also asked that the media provide information which is “respectful of religions.”

Signed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the release comes at the end of a two-day visit to the Vatican of a delegation of French imams, accompanied by representatives of the French bishops conference.

Cardinal Tauran and the imams write they are “shocked” by the attack on Charlie Hebdo, and back Pope Francis’ words, underscoring their “closeness and human and spiritual solidarity to the victims and their families.”

Considering the impact of media on public opinion, the Vatican and the  imams also invited “responsible media to provide information that is respectful of religions, of their followers and of their practices, thus fostering a culture of encounter.”

The release also asked religious leaders to “always promote a culture of peace and hope, able to win over fear and to build bridges among men,” and stressed that interreligious dialogue “is the only path to walk together in order to dissipate prejudices.”

Before the meeting at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the four imams launched the idea of a mobilization of all religions in France to testify that “no religion is violent.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE