Hollande being greeted by religious leaders at the Paris mosque
Hollande being greeted by religious leaders at a Paris mosque

Paris, 1 Rabi’ul Akhir 1437/11 January 2016 (MINA) – Thousands of mosques in France have held open doors weekend, a year after attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

The initiative was regarded with interest by tens of thousands of French. People interested in learning about Islam could ask their questions. The Islamic culture and importance of mosque was explained to the visitors, World Bulletin quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

French President Francois Hollande also participated in the campaign and paid an unannounced visit to the main mosque in Paris on Sunday.

“The president had a short conversation and a moment of friendship and fraternity over a cup of tea,” a French presidency official said.

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”.

“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 said.

The idea is to use the anniversary of the January 7-9 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 last year when millions of people took to the streets in a mass show of solidarity. (T/P006/R07)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)