By COLlive reporter
A rabbi and an imam walk into a kosher restaurant… to speak out against terror.
The recent terror attacks in Paris killing 129 people and wounding 352 people has led to the unlikely scene of the clergy of the Jewish and Islamic faiths joining hands against violence.
Sitting side by side were Chabad Rabbi Levi Matusof, who serves in the Tunisian congregation in Paris, and Tunisian-born Imam Hassen Chalghoumi of the municipal Drancy mosque in Seine-Saint-Denis near Paris.
“These are crimes against humanity and these are barbarians who are acting against Islam,” Chalghoumi unequivocally stated about the terrorists associated with the Islamic State (ISIS) organization who led the bloody attacks.
He went on to call them “operators of Satan’s word, people who were blinded by hatred” and pointed out the ISIS slaughters innocent Muslims in Iran, Syria and Yemen the same way they target Christians and Jews.
The Imam added, “I hope the French people will not fall into the trap, because it is the goal of these extremist barbarians to divide us, to turn us against one another and create panic and fear. They want a civil war.”
Earlier in the day, Rabbi Matusof and Imam Chalghoumi attended a well-publicized memorial ceremony near the Bataclan concert hall, the site of one of the attacks, in tribute to the victims.
Present at the Sunday event were French-Jewish writer and activist Marek Halter and Imam Hocine Drouiche of a mosque in the southeastern city of Nimes. They stood in front of candles and flowers left at the memorial.
Rabbi Matusof spoke in English and French, stating that “We will all light a menorah now in order to light up the world during this difficult time. We are in the Jewish month where we will be celebrating Chanukah.”
Yedioth Ahronoth columnist Nahum Barnea was one of the media representatives covering the event. He wrote that Matusof recited in a clear voice the verses of Tehillim, “From where shall my help come – my help comes from the L-rd.” Speakers then sang “La Marseillaise,” France’s national anthem.
In the joint interview later given by the rabbi and the imam to the Walla News website, they stated their shared commitment for tolerance.
“We can have disagreements on political issues, but this is not what will bring an end to this hatred that exists now. We must show unity in front of any sign of extremism, religious or political. We must live together.”
Video: Rabbi Matusof interviewed on Israel’s Channel 2