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In The Name Of God The Most Merciful, Most Compassionate
France’s top Muslim leader said Wednesday that a besieged suspected Islamist who claims to have carried out a string of shootings to avenge Palestinian children had acted against Islam.
“These acts are in total contradiction with the foundations of this religion,” said the head of the French Muslim Council, Mohammed Moussaoui. “France’s Muslims are offended by this claim of belonging to this religion.”
Mohammed Moussaoui and Richard Prasquier, the head of France’s main Jewish organisation, the CRIF, were to meet Wednesday with President Nicolas Sarkozy as the siege outside the shooter’s apartment continued in the southwestern city of Toulouse.
The joint meeting shows “an important thing,” Prasquier said, “that it is absolutely impossible to confuse this person and the Islamist, jihadist, al-Qaedist movement that he represents, with Islam in France, which is a religion like any other.”
“There are French Muslims among this man’s enemies,” he said, adding that nonetheless: “We must avoid all complacency with regard to these movements, which represent a true danger to our republic.”
Also the Palestinian missions in France on Wednesday condemned the “hateful” attack two days earlier on the Jewish school.
Palestinian diplomatic missions “condemn in the strongest possible terms the hateful attack carried out in Toulouse,” a statement said. “All racist crimes are attacks on humanity in general and on the republic in particular.”
“It appears the weapon used in that massacre is the same as that used previously against three French soldiers of different origins, which leads one to suppose the killer is driven by a multifaceted racist hatred,” it said.
The statement was issued in the name of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the Palestinian Authority, and Palestine’s missions to France and UNESCO, which is headquartered in Paris.
Meanwhile Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said extremists must stop using the Palestinian cause to justify their acts of violence.
“It is time for these criminals to stop marketing their terrorist acts in the name of Palestine and to stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children who only ask for a decent life,” the Palestinian premier said in a statement.
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