A hundred Muslims gathered Sunday afternoon on the steps of the Opera Bastille in Paris to "say no to religious radicalism" and proclaimed their attachment to France and the values of the Republic, says an AFP reporter.It's a start.
With French flags on their jackets and under a banner saying "Together against fanaticism", demonstrators observed a moment of silence in memory of "Children of Toulouse and Montauban," victims of Mohamed Merah, responsible for seven murders in both cities in March, and who claimed, according to the Interior Minister, Claude Gueant,to have links with Al Qaeda.
They then sang the Marseillaise "to show that Muslims know how to integrate", before declaring "Long live France, long live the Republic".
Some thirty Muslim organizations said they represent "all French people of all backgrounds, of all political persuasions" to say "no religious radicalism, yes to living together ".
In particular, the organizers did not want people to confuse Muslims and radical Islamists, following the case of Mohamed Merah.
"Islam has nothing to do with bigotry. After Toulouse, there was a mix between a martyr and criminal within the community and we want to say stop. We have nothing to do with Mohamed Merah" , the imam of Drancy (Seine-Sant-Denis), Hassen Chalghoumi, told AFP.
I am curious what these organizations are doing to actually try to fix the problems of vicious anti-semitism and violence among thousands of Muslim youths throughout the country.