By Mick Krever, CNN
Islam must be a religion, not a political agenda, the rector of the Great Mosque of Paris told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in Paris on Monday, calling for reform in the training of imams.
“Today we want to appeal for a change in religious thinking in Islam – that we abandon political Islam, that we should not turn it into a policy but to keep it as a religion, a religion which doesn’t ask people to kill anyone nor to carry out anti-Semitic acts, or anything political,” Dalil Boubakeur said through a translator.
More than anytime in recent memory, France and French Muslims are trying to grapple with what Islam means for the country.
Last week, a terror attack by gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar” left 17 people dead at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Kosher supermarket.
“Islam is a religion of peace, a religion of tolerance, a religion which people can live together in which people can be brought up in accordance with the ethics and morals of democracy and it should be an example of humanism.”
“True Islam is humanist,” he said in English.”
While the Charlie Hebdo cartoon “did shock a number of Muslims,” Boubakeur said, those disagreements must be solved through the justice system.
“These were children, young people who were abandoned, who were in prison, they had delinquency problems and they were bit by bit trained on the basis of being in prison, through charismatic leaders, in order to be brought into the political form of Islam.”
“They were induced to react against France because of its policy of attacking terrorist centers in the Middle East, so they induced these people who were born in France to commit terrorist acts in France.”
“We want to reform the training of imams, we don’t want to allow these imams just to be trained anywhere or in Arabia, spouting fundamentalism.”