French Muslim, Jewish Leaders Unite to Encourage Religious Tolerance

June 25, 2008

Author: Lisa Bryant

Source: VOA News

Europe's largest Muslim and Jewish communities, both located in France, have just elected new leaders Sunday, who both vow to make their faiths more tolerant and open to non-believers. From Paris, Lisa Bryant reports the two men assume their new jobs under difficult conditions.

Mohammed Moussaoui, the head of France's Representative Muslim Council and Gilles Bernheim, tapped to become the next Grand Rabbi of France, are both intellectuals who preside in their separate positions over Europe's largest Muslim and Jewish communities. France is home to between five to seven million Muslims and roughly 500,000 to 600,000 Jews.

In interviews on French radio and in newspapers, both new leaders call for a new openness, with Mr. Bernheim specifically talking about the need to reach out to those outside the Jewish faith.