French Muslim leaders visit Yad Vashem

A group of 19 Muslim leaders from France visited Israel this week to learn more about Jews and their state. After a series of attacks against French Jews this year, many perpetrated by Muslims, the imams hope to improve the French Muslim community’s relationship with its Jewish neighbors.

Delegation leader Hassen Chalgoumi, imam of the Drancy Mosque near Paris, said the trip reinforced the importance of combating Islamic fundamentalism and Holocaust denial.

“Life is more important than holy books,” Chalghoumi said in a speech outside of Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum. “We say in the name of love, of life, not to hide what happened” in the Holocaust.

Standing in long, colorful robes and wearing traditional rounded hats, the men stood in silence as one of their leaders placed a memorial wreath at Yad Vashem. — jta