Imam who quotes text ordering Muslims to kill Jews acquitted

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A high-ranking imam in France who in a sermon recited a religious text ordering Muslims to kill Jews has been acquitted of inciting anti-Semitic hatred.
Mohamed Tatai, the rector of the Great Mosque of Toulouse, had no desire to incite hatred in his 2017 sermon, the Toulouse Criminal Court ruled on Tuesday. The sermon took place days after news broke that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Leaders of the Jewish community, who severed relations with Tatai and his mosque after the discovery of his sermon, protested the decision. Tatai leads an interfaith dialogue group called Circle for Civil Dialogue.

Franck Teboul, president of the Toulouse section of the CRIF coordination group of French Jewish communities, said it was reminiscent of a recent decision in France not to try the murderer of a Jewish woman in Paris who, in the murder of Sarah Halimi in 2017, spat anti-Semitic slurs. and cried out about Allah. A court ruled that Kabili Traoré was too rich in marijuana to hold him responsible for his actions.

“Even when you kill a Jew, you are not condemned but considered a madman,” Teboul told France Bleu. “So you are telling thousands of people in a mosque to kill Jews and hide behind a centuries-old text to avoid conviction. “

People attend a nationwide rally to protest anti-Semitism and rising anti-Semitic attacks on Place de la République in Paris, France, February 19, 2019. (REUTERS / GONZALO FUENTES)

Muslim community leaders hailed the court’s acquittal.

Abdallah Zekri, president of the Observatory for the Fight against Islamophobia, and a community leader appointed by the Grand Mosque of Paris, said the verdict “cuts off radical fundamentalists who expected Tatai to be condemned to say to their supporters: ‘Look how they’ treat a moderate Muslim, ‘he said, citing France Bleu.

Zekri defended Tatai, saying that “he has always had good relations with the Jewish and Catholic communities”.

Tatai, who has not resigned from his communal posts, has received support from prominent members of the Muslim community.

In the sermon, which was filmed, he said that the Prophet Muhammad “told us about the final and decisive battle: ‘The day of judgment will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, and the stones and the trees will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him – except the tree of Gharqad, which is one of the trees of the Jews ”.

He also predicted Israel’s demise and said that the 2016 funeral for Israeli President Shimon Peres was in fact Israel’s funeral.

Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Great Mosque of Paris and president of the French Council for Muslim Worship, protested against the controversy over Tataï’s sermon rather than the sermon itself.

Acting as Tatai’s spokesperson, Boubaker said Tatasi “apologizes to anyone who has been accidentally offended by the removal from context” of the sermon. None of the imams have explained what they think is the correct context.


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