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Hundreds of French mosques open their doors to the public

AFP , Saturday 9 Jan 2016
Paris
(FILES) This file photo taken on December 19, 2015 shows people passing by the entrance to the Al-Ghazali theology institute of the Grand Mosque of Paris. (Photo: AFP)
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Hundreds of French mosques are participating in a major open-house event this weekend, offering visitors the opportunity to come in for tea and a chat about Islam in a country shaken by Islamist militant attacks.

Organised by the country's leading Muslim body, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), it aims to stimulate dialogue about Islam and create a greater sense of "national cohesion", a year after 17 people were killed in Islamist militant attacks in Paris targeting satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket.

"The objective is to create a space where people can be together and meet normal Muslim worshippers and all of our fellow citizens," CFCM president Anouar Kbibech told AFP.

The idea is to use the anniversary of the January 7 attacks to "highlight the real values of Islam, to set straight the cliches about links to violence and terrorism," he said, describing the venture as a "gesture of openness".

"Instead of dwelling on these tragic acts, it seemed more useful and important to celebrate 'the spirit of January 11'," he said, referring to the date when millions of people took to the streets in a mass show of solidarity.

Following the November attacks, in which jihadists killed 130 people, France declared a state of emergency which has seen police staging around 20 raids on Muslim places of worship. At least three have been closed on suspicion of radicalising their members.

Dubbed "a brotherly cup of tea", the initiative will take different forms with local mosques handing out hot drinks and pastries, offering guided visits, putting on debates and calligraphy workshops, and even inviting people to attend one of the five daily prayers.

Although not all of France's 2,500 mosques and places of worship are taking part, the most important ones are, including the Grand Mosque of Paris.

The event comes after a year which saw a surge in anti-Muslim acts in France, some of which targeted places of worship, although the number was much lower after the November bloodshed than after those that took place in January.

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Tut
10-01-2016 12:32am
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101+
All the churches do !
All the churches in Europe and the States open their doors to the public on permanent basis; they have nothing to hide. Why don't all mosques in Europe and the US do the same on a permanent basis? unless they have their radical teaching to hide!!
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expat
09-01-2016 09:37pm
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139+
whats the benefit????
as long as "brothers"-in-religion doesnt care to inform their new country about "brothers" going stray and mad about the khuffar and djihad, as long as this symptom is every where witnessing,this show is only,what it is, a show ONCE, a rightful and respected muslim says to the secular police,listen,i like my brother,but he goes over the top,bought a gun and is always talking about killing khuffars....as long as this is NOT happening,nobody trusts your imams,nor YOU,with open mosques or closed ones
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