’An Islamist conference cannot be yet another occasion for bigotry, prejudice and antisemitism to pollute the secular, tolerant and multicultural French Republic… Avignon must not become a stage for Radical Islam,” said Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
A conference hosting radical Islam preachers, due to take place in Avignon, France, on Sunday, has been cancelled after a Jewish organiezation alerted France’s Interior Minister.
The owner of the hall where the event was supposed to take place refused to sign the rental contract at the last minute, following complaints by the local administration and by concerned citizens, but also claiming to have received threats – apparently from extreme right militants – that would make the event unsafe for the participants.
The Simon Wisenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Shimon Samuels, had written a letter to French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin urging ‘’prompt scrutiny by the Security Services of your Ministry, before this event unrolls.’’
‘’An Islamist conference cannot be yet another occasion for bigotry, prejudice and antisemitism to pollute the secular, tolerant and multicultural French Republic… Avignon must not become a stage for Radical Islam,” wrote Samuels.
“One thing is sure, such events contribute to the polarization of society. Extremists on both sides bask in provoking hate and confrontation, thus co-opting more hardline militants. Their squabbling does not necessarily mean that moderates win the day!” he added.
The conference had already been cancelled last November because among its sponsors was the NGO “Barakacity”, banned in 2020 by the “Conseil d’Etat” (the French Supreme Administrative Court). The sentence stated that “this organization incited hatred, maintained relations within the radical Islamist movement, and justified terrorist acts.”