French interfaith imam assaulted, called ‘Zionist’ in Tunisia


(JTA) — A French imam known for promoting Jewish-Muslim relations said he was physically assaulted in Tunisia by a man who called him a “Zionist.”

Hassen Chalghoumi, the imam of Drancy near Paris, said he was punched in the chest and shoved to the ground on Sunday near the Hotel Gammarth near Tunis, the capital of Tunisia.

“He insulted me, called me a ‘Zionist and collaborator’ and then he hit me,” Chalghoumi was quoted Monday as telling the Le Parisien daily.

Chalghoumi was assaulted in front of his wife and children, who also were hit by the unnamed attacker, the report said. The imam was taken to the hospital, according to the French news agency AFP. Neither he nor his family members sustained serious injuries.

According to the report, hotel staffers detained the man, who addressed Chalghoumi in French, before he was arrested by police.

Chalghoumi, who is well known in France for his involvement in interfaith forums and initiatives, has received many death threats in France for his friendly ties with CRIF, the umbrella group representing French Jewish communities, and for visiting Israel several times.

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