Bordeaux: Imam attacked after burka debate

Bordeaux: Imam attacked after burka debate

Mahmoud Doua was attacked this past Sunday evening, while exiting a mosque in the Bordeaux suburb of Talence (France).  After prayer two men came up to him and started speaking to him about his appearance on the "Mots croisés" show.  They accused him of not defending the Muslims, Doua says, and then he found himself on the ground.  Doua was very lightly injured and was unable to work for a day, but the attack caused a great psychological shock to the victim and the local Muslim community.

It is the first time that radical Muslims got to this point.  Paradoxically, Mahmoud Doua didn't defend a 'legalistic' and repressive position.  The part-time lecturer of anthropology of the Arab-Muslim world at the University of Bordeaux says that legislation on this issue is not educational and that if there's oppression, one should turn to the social services.  In addition there's a risk of stigmatizing the Muslim community.  Finally, the spirit of secularism (laicite) according got its founders, such as Jaures and Brians, is against a state regulating religious visibility.  The arguments he used in the debate with minister Fadela Amara and Elisabeth Badinter were considered too open by some people.

Mahmoud Doua, who teaches and preaches on Fridays on the Cenon mosque, says that these are youth he knows, who live in the same district as he does.  For them, the discussion was too Republican. 

There are estimated to be 50 Salafists in Bordeaux (department of Gironde). Tareq Oubrou, rector of the Bordeaux mosque and imam of the Association of Muslims in Gironde (AMG), says that they're young, without a point of reference, working by the dynamics of a gang.  He says what happened was serious but unfortunately predictable.  An investigation is underway to identify the two young men.  Mahmoud Doua knows their first names.  After some hesitation, he filed a complaint and the AMG is a civil party in the case.  He says he has no anger or hatred, but he wants the law to be enforced.  Islam has to integrate into the laws of the republic. 

Jawad Rhaouti, president of AMG, concludes that as Badinter said during the debate, the Muslim community is the first victim of this issue.  Sultana, Mahmoud Doua's wife is probably the person most upset.  She says, with some humor, that she wants to be a widow, but not for the burka, and adds that she is concerned.  On Friday her husband would go to the Cenon mosque to preach, as usual.

Source: Sud Ouest (French)

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