France: UOIF attacks Jewish org

France: UOIF attacks Jewish org

For a long time the UOIF denied the charges.  Accused of importing to France the fundamentalist Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood, to which it is close, the Union of Islamic Organizations of France is also suspected of promoting communitarianism.  Years of participation in the CFCM haven't allayed these suspicions.  Then the UOIF changed its strategy.  With a very symbolic target, the CRIF.  The communitarians are not the Muslims, but the Jews grouped in the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, the union now insists.  "The Muslims of France, like the vast majority of citizens, took the unconditional and alienating support of the Jewish authorities of this country to the Israeli oppressor very badly," said vice president Fouad Alaoui Saturday at the annual convention of the organization in Bourget.  He placed the "Palestinian" question at the core of his message.  To better attack the "Zionist project" which is, he says, "the negation of Palestine".  A roundabout way of condemning the very existence of the Jewish state.

Richard Prasquier, president of CRIF, says that this rhetoric is sadly well known.  "It's that of Hamas.  Let us not forget that their charter doesn't recognize Israel and plans to kill Jews.  But Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and the UOIF, their representative in France.  It's logical," says Richard Prasquier.

Since the Israeli offensive on Gaza, the opposition between the Pro-Palestinians and Pro-Israelis left political niceties behind, instead inflaming the public.  The government tried to impose reconciliation when antisemitic acts multiplied in January, but without success.  The UOIF started a campaign, calling for demonstrations and putting on its site a 'gallery of photos of Israeli barbarism'.  In return the CRIF organized a protest in support of Israel and criticized the UOIF during its traditional dinner at the beginning of March.

Since then, the accusations continue, as if the time for peaceful dialog between Jews and Muslims is over.  Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Paris mosque, former president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), paid the price.  He recently declared himself a "friend of the Jews" in an Israeli magazine, prompting, he says, hostile reactions in Arab countries as well as in France.  He complains that the police authorized a demonstration of a 'Sheikh Yassin' group in front of his mosque Friday.  Affirming his love to the Jewish people exposes one today to the anger of Muslim groups, this figure of moderate Islam regrets.

The UOIF has long evaded the issue.  Since its inception by students from the Maghreb in 1983, until it was included in the CFCM in 2003, it avoided the controversy of Jews and Israel.  It distanced itself from Tariq Ramadan when the preacher listed and qualified French Jewish intellectuals.  It also disapproved, halfheartedly, of one of its preachers, Hassan Iquioussen, when in a recorded talk he accused the Jews of all evils.  Since then, Iquioussen, just like Ramadan, returned to the Bourget convention.  And the UOIF, which suffers from a 'CRIF complex' according to political scientist Vincent Geisser, hopes to garner some of its rival's celebrity by attacking.  At the risk of being reduced to a simple community lobby.

Source: Le Figaro (French)

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