• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

French imams to meet Pope

AFP · 21 Sep 2013, 10:01

Published: 21 Sep 2013 10:01 GMT+02:00

The meeting has been organised by Marek Halter, a French Jewish author known for promoting religious tolerance who has organised similar initiatives in the past.

"I thought: Here's a pope who can do what the previous pope didn't do. He can reconcile Christianity with Islam," Halter said.

Relations between the Vatican and the Muslim world were strained in recent years and Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's Cairo-based highest seat of learning, broke off ties with Francis's predecessor Benedict XVI for what it regarded as controversial statements.

Benedict had strongly called for protection of Christian minorities after a January 2011 suicide bombing at a church in Egypt.

He also sparked fury in the Muslim world in 2006 when he recounted an anecdote in which a Byzantine emperor described Prophet Mohammed as a warmonger who spread evil.

But Francis has made several conciliatory gestures. In August he called for "mutual respect" between Christianity and Islam.

Story continues below…

The public meeting is due to take place in Saint Peter's Square in Rome during the weekly papal audience, and will last some 15 minutes.

Hassen Chalghoumi, a Muslim community leader in the Paris suburb of Drancy who is in favour of France's burqa ban, will be among those travelling to Rome aboard the plane of Tunisian film producer Tarak Ben Ammar, a friend of Halter's.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
No booze, no noise: Paris cracks down on Nuit Debout
Photo: AFP

Will the Nuit Debout movement survive a ban on booze and noise?

US stubbornness will end EU free trade deal warns France
Photo: AFP

Washington needs to compromise or the deal could be off, says France.

Corsican separatists to end 40-year 'military operations'
Photo: AFP

Corsica's main militant group will lay down arms in October.

France imposes three-month ban on making foie gras
Photo: AFP

Foie gras producers in France are in a flap, and your next serving of the delicacy may be pricey.

French minister fumes over Euro 2016 song in English
Photo: Screengrab YouTube/SkipTheUse

The team is French, the tournament is in France, but the official song is in English. Cue anger in the government.

French are 'more tolerant' despite big rise in racist acts
A copy of a burned Koran after an Islamophobic attack in Corsica last year. Photo: AFP

French society is becoming tolerant even though there are more acts of racism, the results of an annual survey has shown.

'They are lost': Journalist infiltrates French jihadist cell
Photo: AFP

"I never saw Islam in this affair, just lost frustrated youths," says a French journalist who managed to infiltrate a cell of jihadists, planning to launch an attack in France.

Police evict 1,350 migrants from Paris camp once again
All photos: AFP

A huge group of migrants has been evicted from the Stalingrad Metro area in Paris, for the third time in three months.

Frenchwoman killed closing window shutters in storm
File photo: Julie Kertesz/Flickr

Storms claimed the life of a woman in France at the weekend, when she was killed trying to close her shutters.

Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
Proust's personal archives to go under the hammer in Paris
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
Who exactly are the masked rioters causing havoc across France?
French rail passengers must now pay to change their tickets
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Travel
Here are nine must-see landmarks in Paris you may have missed
Society
Paris makes love-lock bridge even more love-lock proof
Lifestyle
Parisians paying dearly for their bad 'parking'
Society
What's on in France: Ten great things to do in May
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Society
Protesters clash with police over France's new labour laws
National
French dangerously 'unprepared' for future natural disasters
Is it really safe to come to France for Euro 2016?
National
Salah Abdeslam: Pot-smoking 'little moron' is finally back in Paris
Rail strike: Passengers in France face major disruption
Cats in a cafe?!? Nine of the quirkiest things you can see in Paris
National
VIDEO: The moment a Paris suicide bomber blew himself up
National
Why there's another rail strike in France and why there will be more
National
Winter is coming (back). Why is France so cold right now?
National
WWI's Anzac Day heroes honoured in northern France service
Lifestyle
VIDEO: Did you know all these stars spoke great French?
Culture
How did the French end up with their 'crazy' numbers?
Politics
Why this man could become the next president of France
Society
VIDEO: Jewellers in southern France raided by... swarm of bees
Culture
Did you know the strange origins of these six French curse words?
Why are more and more people dying on French roads?
2,782
jobs available