Definitely very political, the rector of the great mosque of Paris Chems-eddine Hafiz enthusiastically welcomed a face-to-face meeting with the candidate Rima Hassan, present in seventh position on the list of La France Insoumise for the elections European. The exchange took place at the great mosque, where both posed all smiles in front of a photographer, this Wednesday, May 22.

The same day, Chems-eddine Hafiz called on Muslims, in a weekly post addressed to his flock, to vote against the far right, responsible according to him for “policies of exclusion, discrimination and division” whose “consequences” range “from the increase in Islamophobic acts and discrimination to the strengthening of restrictive laws targeting religious and cultural practices”.

The rector of the great mosque of Paris said he was “particularly happy to welcome Rima Hassan” and praised in a press release the career of the 32-year-old jurist and activist, of Palestinian origin and born in a Palestinian refugee camp. in Syria. Her “fight for vulnerable people in exile is exemplary,” said Chems-eddine Hafiz, adding that as “director of the Refugee Camp Observatory, dedicated to the study and protection of refugee camps throughout the world, it commands respect. The message posted by the great mosque of Paris concluded with the slogan “Palestine Gaza Solidarity”, while the candidacy of Rima Hassan is a sign of the importance that LFI gives to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in its campaign for the European elections .

For her part, the candidate also relayed photos of her meeting with the rector of the great mosque of Paris on Instagram, evoking the “great pleasure” she had in meeting Chems-eddine Hafiz, with whom she said she had mentioned in particular the memory of “hundreds of thousands of Muslim soldiers who came from Africa and died to liberate France”.

The rector of the great mosque of Paris, who regularly speaks in the media and on social networks on the subject of major current debates, had several times defended Rima Hassan, notably last April when the candidate was summoned to the police station with Mathilde Panot as part of proceedings for “apology of terrorism”, following comments that each of the two women had made on the subject of Palestine.

“These actions seem to seek to stifle criticism of the war against Gaza,” Chems-eddine Hafiz said. It is crucial to protect freedom of expression and ensure fair treatment for all.” The rector of the great mosque of Paris, however, filed a complaint, in 2022, against Michel Houellebecq for comments made by the writer during an interview with Michel Onfray for the magazine Front populaire, during which Houellebecq mentioned the risk that there were attacks in France against Muslims, which he described as “Bataclan in reverse”.

Explaining this legal action in an article published in Le Figaro, Chems-eddine Hafiz wrote in particular: “I am appealing to justice, which is a noble appeal. In a rule of law, recourse to the judge is a precious asset.” He finally withdrew his complaint after meeting the writer, thanks to Rabbi Haïm Korsia.