France Investigates Muslim Cleric For Allegedly Inciting Hatred Against Jews

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

French prosecutors announced Friday that they are investigating an imam for allegedly inciting hatred against Jews and violence against Israel in a video-recorded sermon.

Prosecutors said they will investigate Mohamed Tatai, imam at the Grand Mosque of Toulouse, for comments he made in a December 15 sermon in which he predicted the destruction of Israel and cited a Hadith about Muslims killing Jews in the last days, according to The Times of Israel. Video of the sermon, translated by the Middles East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), garnered condemnation against Tatai from B’nai B’rith, the oldest Jewish advocacy and service organization in the world. (RELATED: French Leaders Demand Muslims Denounce Anti-Christian And Anti-Jewish Verses In Quran) 

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“[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.’ This hadith was narrated by Imam Muslim. The Christians and the Jews also believe these prophecies,” Tatai said, according to MEMRI’s translation.

Tatai also cited a prophecy that states that Israel will cease to exist as a country after 76 years of existence.

French prosecutors said that they will check the accuracy of MEMRI’s translation as part of their investigation.

In addition to serving as an imam, Tatai also heads an interfaith dialogue group called the Circle for Civil Dialogue. He led the inauguration ceremony for the Grand Mosque of Toulouse on Saturday, claiming that it would stand as a bulwark against extremism and would help to “instill the values of peace.”

The president of B’nai B’rith’s French branch, Philippe Meyer, posted MEMRI’s translation online Wednesday, decrying Tatai’s sermon as an incitement to hatred that “must be punished.” He later accused Tatai of “unacceptable doublespeak” in light of the imam’s comments at the Grand Mosque’s inaugural ceremony.

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