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April 27, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8719

French-Tunisian Liberal Imam Hassen Chalghoumi On Holocaust Remembrance Day: "We Remember"

April 27, 2020
North Africa | Special Dispatch No. 8719

For several years, French-Tunisian cleric Hassan Chalghoumi, a mosque imam in the town of Drancy near Paris,[1] has attended memorials on Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, as well as  events promoting friendship with the Jewish community and interfaith dialogue.[2] This year, since public Holocaust Day events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Chalghoumi marked Holocaust Day with a message on his Facebook account, accompanied by several images. One of them shows him holding up a handwritten sign reading "We remember" in English and Arabic. Another picture shows him at the entrance of the Auschwitz extermination camp.

Chalghoumi's Facebook page, from April 21, 2020, said:[3] "The whole world remembers the six million who were killed in the Holocaust just because they were Jews. This crime against humanity must never be forgotten. On behalf of the Conference of Imams in France,[4] I pray that the souls of these men, women and children who were killed, burned and gassed by the Nazi regime may rest in peace." The message was followed by the hashtags #Neverforget and #weremember.

The picture of Imam Chalghoumi holding the sign in English and Arabic was taken in 2018, when he attended a Holocaust commemoration ceremony at the European parliament as part of the World Jewish Congress' "We Remember" campaign. After this event he posted on Facebook "I am joining the #weremember campaign to honor the memory of the 6 million Jews [killed] in the Holocaust. I, Imam Chalghoumi, president of the France's Conference of Imams, was honored to take part in the Holocaust remembrance ceremony today at the European Parliament. This day reminds us how far human bullshit [sic] in the name of an ideology of hate and extremism can go. It also reminds us of our role and struggle against religious hatred and intolerance. [Let's] all [stand] together against the antisemitism. #Neveragain." [5]

 

[1] Drancy has a large Muslim community. It is also the area from which Parisian Jews were deported to the Nazi extermination camps, mainly Auschwitz.

[2] In 2014, MEMRI published a report about an interfaith conference with Hassen Chalghoumi at the Drancy Holocaust Memorial: Special Dispatch No. 4241 - French-Tunisian Imam Chalghoumi Organizes Interfaith Gathering at Drancy Holocaust Memorial – April 9, 2014.

[3] The English has been slightly added for clarity.

[4] A group of imams founded by Chalgoumi in 2009, whose members, mainly from the Maghreb and African countries, take part in interfaith dialogue and have visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

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