On the eve of the memorial events marking one year since the terrorist attacks in Toulouse, President Shim'on Peres met, Sunday with the heads of the Jewish community of France and a delegation of imams, including the heads of the Egyptian, African, Moroccan and Senegalese communities and heads of central mosques, according to the Foreign Ministry. The Jewish leaders, including the leadership of the community in Toulouse, updated him on manner in which they have been coping since the murders of a rabbi and three children at the Otsar Hatorah school a year ago. They asked to hear from him about ways in which the peace process with the Palestinian Authority could be re-started, the latest developments with regards to Iran and the general situation in the Middle East in light of the Arab Spring. Peres and the community leadership also discussed incidents of anti-Semitism in France.
Imam Hassen Chalghoumi said, "We are here to say to our brothers the Jews and the French: We are all threatened by terror, hurt by terror and we all call with optimism for peace at the end of this terrible year. We teach the believers that human life is holier than the holy sites! Holier than Mecca, the Vatican or Jerusalem." He added, "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not an excuse to hate the State of Israel – we are not interested in that hate and do not believe in it. We visited Israel and saw the country, we want to know Israel as it really is and to get to know people from different perspectives."
The president responded, "Whoever was responsible for the murder of French citizens and Jewish children in Toulouse showed the ugly face of terror, and your words show the way of peace. You are leaders of an Islam which seeks peace, as we do. I am very grateful for your words, and I thank you for coming. I see in you brothers in this path, dialogue between us is important and valuable and that is why this meeting between us is so important. We will work together, for all the peoples of the world, for Israeli's and Palestinians, for peace in the world."