Paris: Reacting to clearly outrageous demand in a manifesto by some 300 French, including former President Sarkozy, local Imams asserted that Quran neither tell anyone to be racist or anti-Semitic nor it promotes violence in any way.
“The Quran doesn’t tell anyone to be racist or anti-Semitic—in fact it expresses deep respect for Jewish figures such as Moses. But a minority of Muslims falls into a misreading. By promoting one vision of those verses, the manifesto makes the same error as terrorists”, Abdallah Dlioueh, the Imam of Valence mosque said while talking to The Atlantic.
Tareq Oubrou, the prominent French imam who oversees the Grand Mosque of Bordeaux, also called the characterization of the Quran “nearly blasphemous.”
“Viewing the scripture as anti-Semitic is the falsified interpretation promoted by the very radicals France seeks to combat. “Ignorant Muslims who remove texts from their historical context”, he said.
“Furthermore, the notion that anti-Semitism is built into Islam is theologically false”, he added.
“As monotheistic “People of the Book,” Jews and Christians enjoy a special status in Islamic law. Historically, they were considered protected dhimmi communities, which meant they were allowed to practice their own religions, although they were subject to a tax and various indignities that symbolized their subordination to Muslims”, Oubrou said.
Rather than calling for absolute violence, Oubrou said the Quran advocates for a “defensive combat, against aggressors, within a historical context.”
Oubrou and Dlioueh were responding to the manifesto which was published in Le Parisien newspaper on Sunday. The statement urged Muslims to denounce some references so "no believer can refer to a holy text to commit a crime."
Days after the manifesto’s release, 30 imams signed a counter-letter in Le Monde. Oubrou and Dlioueh are among 30 Imams who signed the letter in Le Monde voicing indignation with “the confiscation of [their] religion by criminals”.
Meanwhile, addressing a ruling party meeting on Tuesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan described the group that included actor Gerard Depardieu, singer Charles Aznavour and the former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, as "despicable" and accused them of attacking scriptures sacred to Muslims.
Erdogan suggested other holy books had controversial references, saying, "If they had read it, they would probably ask for the Bible to be banned but they have no such concern.”
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