French Imams visiting the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue released a joint communiqué on Thursday January 8. They condemned the attack on Charlie Hebdo and urged for freedom of expression.
“Without freedom of expression, the world is in danger,” the January 8 statement reads. It also asked that the media provide information that is “respectful of religions”.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue signed the statement. 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”. The communiqué also urged the 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 inter-religious dialogue “is the only path to walk together in order to dissipate prejudices”.
Djellou Seddiki, director of the al-Ghazzali Institute of the Mosque of Paris, said that his mosque has delivered an appeal to all the mosques, synagogues and Catholic churches of France for this purpose. “I lived the Charlie Hebdo attack as a double violence: I am stricken as a French citizen and as a Muslim, since the Muslim community is always on the dock,” Seddiki said.