Religious leaders in Paris: Enough with the bloodshed

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and the former Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday held an interfaith meeting with Muslim Qadis, Rabbis and Church leaders to issue a joint call for all religious leaders to end terror and bloodshed.

In light of the recent attacks and security tensions in Europe, Peres decided to begin his visit to Paris with a special meeting bringing together the heads of the three "Abrahamic religions" in a call against terror and to restore calm and ease tensions.

“We gathered here today Jews, Muslims and Christians to say loud and clear – that we must fight terror, we must go against those preachers who are using God’s name in vain to promote bloodshed and incitement. There is no God in the heavens that permits terrorism, there is no God willing to murder the innocent – babies, children, here in Europe, in the Middle East or the rest of the world. It is our duty to unite and speak out against terrorism. The Gods do not permit beheadings and most religious leaders condemn such acts.

"We have a historical mission to maintain the moral voice, the beauty of religion, its compassion, and love and to reconcile between nations and religions.  I am sorry for the bloodshed in Europe. The terrorist attacks in Belgium were harsh and they carried a message of hatred.  My condolences go out to the people of Belgium and I send strength and courage to the whole country. We must join forces and be determined to fight against terrorism."

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo also addressed the recent acts of terror and said, “Paris is a city of democracy, tolerance and peace. It is for the rabbis, church leaders and Imams to sit together, fight against the hatred and work towards advancing peace. We must be accessible to the youth of Paris and together fight against violence and terror.”

The Mayor added that she intends to establish a group and delegation of Muslim, Christian and Jewish youth that will work on advancing tolerance and fighting against terrorism in accordance to Peres’ vision.

Abderamane Dahmane, President of the Council of Muslim Democrats and representative of the Muslim Committee at the largest Mosque in Paris, said he was moved by Peres’ words and called to stop the bloodshed.

"I grew up in the South of Algeria alongside the Jews and always believed in coexistence and the importance of promoting good neighborly relations, tolerance and peace. There must be no war between the children of Abraham. The terrorists are planting ignorance and fear, they attract youth with false promises and turn them into heroes. It is my duty and the duty of all religious leaders – Christian and Jewish to cooperate on the call against terror."

Michel Serfaty, an Orthodox Rabbi committed to Jewish-Muslim dialogue, said, “I hold a campaign in the poorest and most difficult neighborhoods in France, I meet with Muslim youth and convey a message of peace, reconciliation, dialogue and understanding. It is our duty as Rabbis, to call for peace, moral values, mutual respect and show the beautiful sides of the religion and promote good neighborliness.”

During his visit to Paris, Shimon Peres will be the guest of honor at the signing ceremony marking cooperation between The Peres Center for Peace and UNESCO. He will be recognized internationally for his actions in promoting peace and stopping bloodshed through peace education projects. Additionally, Peres will meet with French President Hollande at the Elysee Palace.


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