Lille: Ramadan urges Muslims to mobilize

Lille: Ramadan urges Muslims to mobilize

The Al Imane mosque of the Lille-Sud neighborhood of Lille, in northern France, was full last night, for a conference given 'in support of the people of Gaza' by Tariq Ramadan, Islamolog, and Michel Collon, leftist Belgian journalist.

The conference opened in a strange way: Amar Lasfar, rector of the Lille-Sud mosque, first requested a journalist working for Voix du Nord to leave.  He was accused of having 'writing lies' in a previous article.  He warned, in front of a crowd of faithful that "any journalist who plays with us in that way, we can tell him that won't be open to him."

But the faithful of the Lille mosque came to hear Tariq Ramadan in particular. With clear expression, calm tone, Tariq Ramadan delivered a long talk of his vision of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and called for 'developing mobilizations'.  Fiery, he urged the faithful to surpass their emotions.  "If they have the tears to endure," he said, referring to the Palestinian people, "we have the weapons to respond: the distance to understand, and the time and means to get organized."  Denouncing the 'intellectuals and journalists who see themselves as French and keep up a victim discourse in regard to Israel."

Tariq Ramadan thinks that 'the Palestinian question is a local and global conflict, which contains all the dimensions that which has been called the 'clash of civilizations'.

Delivering a truly 'universal' argument, 'specifically uniting beyond the lone Muslim," to those that he wants to see 'leaving the mosques ready to convince,' Tariq Ramadan insisted in particular on one point:  "The Israeli-Palestinian issue is not religious, it is political (..) We must not transform the political question into a humanitarian issue."

According to him, 'the Palestinian resistance is legitimate' and 'the Palestinians have a right to a State and to dignity'.  Tariq Ramadan also reminded that for his part, he supported 'one single state, in which everybody lives."

To those who fear an increase in community tensions and import of the conflict into France he answers that the 'import is in TV, in the lies of the mass media." 

And he insists that "we are against all racism, against antisemitism," he says he rejects saying that whoever is anti-Israeli policy is also antisemitic.

Calling for an 'awaking of the the conscience', for 'a reasoned mobilization over the long term," he was then followed by Michel Collon.  The Belgian journalist, for his part, denounced the 'media lies' and the way in which the conflict is retold in the mass media in France.

Describing television as a 'weapon of war', he asked the faithful to take a critical look and speak, like himself, for the development of their own arguments to bring together the support for the Palestinian people beyond the lone Muslim community.

Source: Nord Éclair (French) h/t le blog laiciste

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