Court acquits imam of incitement charges for quoting text to kill Jews
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Court acquits imam of incitement charges for quoting text to kill Jews

Mohamed Tatai, the rector of the Great Mosque of Toulouse, had no desire to incite hatred in his sermon from 2017 a tribunal found

Imam Mohamed Tatai gives a sermon at the Grand Mosque in Toulouse, France, on December 15, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube) via Times of Israel
Imam Mohamed Tatai gives a sermon at the Grand Mosque in Toulouse, France, on December 15, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube) via Times of Israel

A senior imam in France who in a sermon recited a religious text commanding Muslims to kill Jews has been acquitted of incitement to antisemitic hate charges.

Mohamed Tatai, the rector of the Great Mosque of Toulouse, had no desire to incite hatred in his sermon from 2017, the Correctional Tribunal of Toulouse ruled Tuesday. The sermon came days after news broke that the United States would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Jewish community leaders, who broke relations with Tatai and his mosque following the discovery of his sermon, protested the ruling. Tatai leads an interfaith dialogue group called the Circle for Civil Dialogue.

Franck Teboul, the president of the Toulouse chapter of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, said it was reminiscent of a recent decision in France not to try the killer of a Paris Jewish woman who during the 2017 slaying of Sarah Halimi spewed antisemitic slurs and shouted about Allah. A court ruled that Kabili Traore was too high on marijuana to make him responsible for his actions.

“Even when you kill a Jew you’re not convicted but considered crazy,” Teboul told France Bleu. “So you tell thousands at a mosque to kill Jews and hide behind a centuries-old text to avoid conviction.”

Muslim community leaders praised the court’s acquittal.

Abdallah Zekri, the president of the Observatory for the Fight Against Islamophobia, and a community leader appointed by the Great Mosque of Paris, said the verdict “cuts against radical fundamentalists who expected Tatai would be convicted to tell their followers: ‘Look how they’re treating a moderate Muslim,’” France Bleu quoted him as saying.

Zekri defended Tatai, saying “he’s always maintained good relations with the Jewish and Catholic communities.”

Tatai, who has not resigned his communal posts, has received some backing from prominent members of the Muslim community.

In the sermon, which was filmed, he said that the Prophet Muhammad “told us about the final and decisive battle: ‘Judgement Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, and the stones and the trees will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him – except for the Gharqad tree, which is one of the trees of the Jews’.”

He also predicted Israel’s demise and said the 2016 funeral of Israeli President Shimon Peres was in fact Israel’s funeral.

Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Great Mosque of Paris and the president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, protested the controversy over Tatai’s sermon rather than the sermon itself.

Acting as Tatai’s spokesperson, Boubaker said Tatasi “apologises to anyone who was accidentally offended by the pulling out of context” of the sermon. Neither imam explained what they believe to be the correct context.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments