France’s leading Muslim organization has called on Muslims to counter radical forms of Islam, especially in the wake of the Islamic State group’s attacks on Paris. The French Council for the Muslim Faith encouraged education of young people to “combat the ideas of hatred within our religion” so they don't turn into “terrorist bombs that want to destroy the values of the Western countries but in reality are destroying Islam’s image and the future of Islam in France and Europe.” The Muslim council emphasized that “the future of our religion is in play and the fate of your children and it’s up to us Muslims to decide to act or not.” It said the text would be broadcast for Nov. 20 Friday prayers in the 2,500 mosques of France. The effort follows the deadly Islamic State attacks on Paris Nov. 13 which left more than 120 dead and hundreds wounded. Criticizing extremists, the declaration said that “according to the ideology of these ignorant Islamists, the Islam of tolerance and humanism, and openness to inter-religious dialogue has become an act of treason and collaboration with the West.” The council warned that this situation has made it so that “tolerant imams have been threatened inside their own mosques by these extremists (who) have chosen harshness and hatred against anyone that might be different even if they are Muslims.” “The leaders of Islam in France don’t measure up to the standards of the true values of Islam nor the true values of the Republic. They’ve made our universal Islam into a sectarian religion that does not accept openness or adaptation to European values,” the council said, according to the text published by the Italian newspaper Avvenire. In addition, the Muslim council rejected “incompetent” imams as “failed leaders” who “should leave their positions to others who would be more competent and more open because they have not been able to reassure Muslims or the French.” The council questioned why terrorists’ parents and families had not countered extremism. “What kind of things have they taught them? Have they been supplanted by the Internet and social media?” The council said condemnation of the attacks has not been enough and warned Muslims against behaving like ostriches. “We can't hide our heads under the sand repeating that malevolent phrase, ‘it’s not us, it’s them!’” “Every imam, every religious leader, and every Muslim has to take their part in responsibility because these criminal attacks have been committed in the name of our religion,” the council continued. The council also said that Christians, Jews and atheists have “a hard time living in the Muslim world.” “Building a church or synagogue is an impossible dream to realize in those countries that even needs the intervention of the president of the republic!” Unlike Christians and Jews in some Muslim lands, they continued, “Muslims in France and Europe live in complete freedom and dignity.” “They build mosques, Islamic centers, and religious schools without any sabotage or exclusion.” The text noted that European countries “even offer us benefits and advantages we don't find in our countries of origin in spite of all the hardships that certainly exist in the neighborhoods and outlying areas.”
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