French President Francois Hollande will meet Tuesday with the heads of the country’s leading Jewish and Muslim organizations, the Elysee Palace said, in an attempt to subdue a public rift between the two factions.
Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris and president of the French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM) is slated to attend the meeting along with Roger Cukierman, the president of France’s Jewish association (CRIF).
Tension flared between the two organizations on Monday, after Boubakeur decried what he claimed were “anti-Islam” statements made by Cukierman during a radio interview.
Pointing particularly to Cukierman’s term “Islamo-fascism” and statements about Muslim youth involved in violence, Boubakeur withdrew his organization’s attendance at an annual CRIF dinner attended by Hollande.
Cukierman later clarified that he was referring to a small minority of Muslims and said he was referring specifically to recent attacks carried out in Europe by radicals.
“Jews and Muslims are in the same situation, and I hope contact between us is quickly restored,” Cukierman was quoted by French media as saying during Monday’s dinner.
During an address, Hollande condemned both anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic sentiment, and recalled that more than 10,000 French troops have been deployed to protect both mosques and synagogues since terrorist attacks in Paris in January.
“French Jews are at home in France,” Hollande said. “It’s anti-Semites who do not have a place here.”
Fears of intolerance have grown since three gunmen killed 17 people during separate incidents on a satirical magazine and a kosher supermarket during the Paris attacks. SAPA