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Brussels: Promoting the role of the imam to face the challenges in the European context (Conference)

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The European Council of Moroccan Ulema (CEOM) organized a meeting on Saturday, 25 November 2017 in Brussels on "the role of the imam in the European context: within current challenges and future challenges". Some 150 imams from different European countries intended the meeting.

Mr. Tahar Tajkani, President of the COEM,  said that the purpose of the meeting held in the capital of the European Union, is to give the imams an opportunity to talk about the challenges they face in Europe and the  solutions to the problems they face.  Mr. Tajkani also invited the imams  to be a vehicle  stability and peace in the societies where they work.

The European Commission: "It is essential to communicate with imams".

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In a letter read by Mr. Khalid Hajji (member of the COEM), from Mr. Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr. Timmermans wrote that Muslims are important in the European landscape saying meeting is an opportunity to deepen the dialogue with them, adding that the European Commission is ready to help Muslim communities so that they can live in peace in European societies.

For her part, Mrs. Virginia Manzitti, political advisor of the special envoy for "the promotion of freedom of religion and belief outside the European Union", said that the approach of the European Commission considers the questions of  faith based on religious freedom as a human right. 

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Ms. Magnetti said that the goal of the European leaders is to promote listening and dialogue with governmental and associative actors.

Mentioning a recent study on discrimination against Muslims in Europe, Ms Manzitti said that the same study also showed that most Muslims have confidence in the European institutions. She voiced the need for her institution to cooperate with religious leaders and leaders from Muslim communities, to face together hatred and extremism. 

Mr. Boussouf: Taking account the value of the role of the imam in Europe

In his speech, Mr. Abdellah Boussouf, the Secretary General of the Council of the Moroccan Community living Abroad (CCME), firmly condemned the terrorist attack in El Arich, Egypt, which killed more than 300 people in an egyptian mosque during their Friday prayer at a mosque - Friday 25 November 2017 killing more than 300 people- and said that this cowardly act is another proof that terrorism has no relation with Islam, as stated by His Majesty the King in his speech last year. He said that this meeting is the  evidence of our refusal of any act of hatred, because Islam is a project of life and not a project of death.

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Mr. Boussouf applauded the CEOM for its efforts in the supervision of the imams who adhere to « the Moroccan model based on the respect, the mean and the rite of Maliki, the Ash'arite doctrine and the Sunni Sufism » and focused on the importance of imams who’s daily work is to protect muslims, especially the Moroccan communities, from radicalization and extremism. He urged the European countries to recognize the efforts of the Moroccan imam who should be seen as a partner because he is  the main actor in a society able for answering the questions that arise today in the European context.

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"Governments must move towards the imams and dialogue, instead of limiting exchanges to the presidents of the associations, because the imams and the ulemas are those who accomplish the discourse the  society needs, said Mr Boussouf.

The Secretary General of the CCME, then voiced the Council's willingness to contribute to the promotion of the social conditions of imams in Europe so that they can achieve their mission in better circumstances: the imam is twice a victim of terrorist acts because he is blamed when terrorist attacks occur and is at the same time a target for extremists, he said.

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Mr. Boussouf took the opportunity to recall « the capacity of Islam to live in harmony with European principles, because it does not constitute a hindrance to democracy, human rights or freedoms and admits pluralism and diversity ».

A meeting on "The Holy Quran, a message of peace" was also organized and attended by several speakers from Morocco and European countries.

The meeting/conference is part of a series of training meetings initiated by the CEOM indifferent European capitals in order to associate the imam with the building of stable European societies and the reinforcement of living together .

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