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French ambassador discusses religious extremism with Sudanese Sufi order


May 24, 2015 (KHARTOUM) - The French ambassador to Khartoum, Bruno Aubert, has discussed with the general guide of the Samaniya Sufi Order, Mohamed al-Fatih Gharib Allah, the negative impact of terrorism on religions.

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Protesters shout slogans against France and call for an apology while carrying banners during a demonstration against satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo after Friday prayers in Khartoum on 16 January 2015. The banner reads: "Not for the Prophet Mohammad. Death for French. Charlie Hebdo offends the Prophet" (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

The French embassy had earlier received a statement issued by the Samaniya on the attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The magazine has been the target of two terrorist attacks in 2011 and 2015. Both were presumed to be in response to a number of controversial cartoons it published depicting Prophet Mohamed. In the second of these attacks, 12 people were killed.

Aubert , who attended the Samainya weekly Dhikr (rhythmic repetition of the name of God or his attributes) on Friday, called for launching a worldwide dialogue to resolve terrorism problems, saying he is fully convinced that Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and love and that the extremist don’t represent Islam.

He said that his visit to the Samaniya comes within the framework of the social links with the various components of the Sudanese society, noting they discussed ties between the embassy and the Samaniya as part of the popular diplomacy.

The ambassador vowed to continue to visit the Samaniya and engage in a dialogue on issues of mutual concern.

Gharib Allah, for his part, underscored the need for dialogue on the causes of terrorism, pointing that all societies and religions suffer from extremism which emerge due to wrong understanding of the religious teachings.

“If Sufist teachings were applied, they would protect individual and society against extremism,” he said.

He demanded the French ambassador to apply the principle of justice in the European laws particularly on issues pertaining to forbidding insults against religions, adding that freedom in Europe is relative and not absolute as claimed by some people.

Last January, Tayba Press media centre in Khartoum prevented Aubert from speaking at a press conference organised for a French expert in protest of the re-publication of Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

The magazine’s first issue after the attack featured a caricature of prophet Mohamed on the cover, an act considered blasphemous by many Muslims.


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