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French Sufi Imams back Pope after Vatican Audience

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A group of French imams attended a general audience with Pope Francis recently, stating that they saw the Catholic leader as a figure of reconciliation.
“We feel something strong with this pope. We, the minorities need him,” said Hassen Chalghoumi, a Tunisian imam in Drancy, a suburb of Paris. “Moderates should be supported. We should not be grouped with extremists who burn churches,” he said. The visit was organised by Marek Halter, a French writer of Polish Jewish origin, who briefly met with the pope during the audience in St Peter’s Square. There were a total of eight imams, seven from Paris and suburbs and one from Marseille. Chalghoumi said they were all “Sufis.” Tunisian cinema and television tycoon, Tarak Ben Ammar brought the imams on his private plane and said the visit would boost inter-religious dialogue. “We have a problem to resolve ourselves. Christians had this in the Middle Ages. Political Islam is winning the upper hand,” Ben Ammar said. Halter said that Francis “can do what Benedict XVI never managed to do: reconcile Christianity and Islam”.