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French imam requests police protection after receiving death threats for criticism of terror attacks

French imam requests police protection after receiving ‘thousands’ of death threats for his criticism of recent terror attacks

  • Hassen Chalghoumi, a moderate Muslim leader, condemned recent attacks
  • He described slain teacher Samuel Paty as a ‘martyr for freedom of expression’ 
  • The imam’s comments have resulted in a torrent of abuse and death threats
  • He has appealed to Emmanuel Macron for increased police protection 

A French imam who condemned the recent terror attacks has appealed to Emmanuel Macron for increased police protection after receiving ‘thousands’ of death threats.

Hassen Chalghoumi, imam in Drancy, a Paris suburb, said he has been targeted since speaking out against the beheading of a French teacher last month who had shown his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Mr Chalghoumi, 48, a leading Muslim moderate voice, had called teacher Samuel Paty a ‘martyr for freedom of expression’ despite the cartoons provoking outrage across much of the Muslim world.

Hassen Chalghoumi, a French imam who condemned the recent terror attacks, has appealed for increased police protection after receiving ‘thousands’ of death threats

The imam, who as president of the Imams of France Conference has regularly called for interfaith tolerance, added that Mr Paty was ‘a wise man who has taught tolerance, civilisation and respect for others’.

But his comments have prompted a backlash, with Mr Chalghoumi the target of many deaths threats online, The Telegraph reported.

One post in Arabic on Twitter read: ‘We urge true Muslims of France to allow Chalghoumi to join the history teacher and also become a martyr of the nation.’

Another on the Telegram messaging service described the imam as ‘your new target’, calling on followers to ‘execute him because he is filthier than those French infidels.

Mr Chalghoumi, 48, a leading Muslim moderate voice, had called teacher Samuel Paty (pictured) a 'martyr for freedom of expression'

Mr Chalghoumi, 48, a leading Muslim moderate voice, had called teacher Samuel Paty (pictured) a ‘martyr for freedom of expression’

Mr Chalghoumi, who was born in Tunisia, has lived under police guard since the 2015 Paris attacks, when Islamic State called for his ‘execution’.

He has provoked many extremists by working to improve relations between Muslims and Jews, and supporting the ban on the face veil.

His lawyer David-Olivier Kaminski has now written to Macron arguing the imam needs even more protection amid the torrent of threats.  

Islamist leader Abdelhakim Sefrioui, who has been arrested for leading a social media campaign against Mr Paty before his execution, previously tried to get Mr Chalghoumi dismissed from his mosque for his progressive views.

Islamist leader Abdelhakim Sefrioui (pictured), who has been arrested for leading a social media campaign against Mr Paty before his execution, previously tried to get Mr Chalghoumi dismissed

Islamist leader Abdelhakim Sefrioui (pictured), who has been arrested for leading a social media campaign against Mr Paty before his execution, previously tried to get Mr Chalghoumi dismissed

Meanwhile, Mr Chalghoumi said after the recent attack that Muslim authorities should see the beheading as a call for action.

‘Rectors of mosques, imams, parents, civil society groups, wake up, your future is at stake,’ he said.

He said Islamist extremists in France are well organised and know how to use the legal system and how far they can go.

‘We need to end the victimisation discourse. We all have rights in France, like everyone else. Parents should tell their children about the good that exists in this republic,’ he said.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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