When the Muslims saved the Jews: the Paris Mosque

Si Kaddour Benghabrit

Imams from their pulpits instructed Muslim congregations to refuse taking part in the injustices against Jews.

In Paris, a grand mosque built in honour of the 100,000 Muslim soldiers who died fighting for France in the First World War, became a sanctuary for Jews escaping persecution less than three decades later. Si Kaddour Benghabrit was a French Algerian who was deeply loyal to France. During World War I, he was appointed honourary consul-general and served the religious needs of Muslims in the French army. After the war came to an end, he worked in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs until 1920, when the parliament decided to acknowledge his loyalty by asking him to establish a mosque in Paris. Six years later, the Great Mosque of Paris became a reality and Benghabrit was appointed its rector.
A mosque built in honour of Muslim soldiers who died fighting for France became a sanctuary for Jews escaping persecution. When war broke out in Europe again, and Jewish lives were in danger, Benghabrit used the mosque as a hiding place, issuing each person with a fake certificate of Muslim identity.

Read More

3 replies

  1. Islam has always given the safe haven to non-muslims
    from the time of the Holy prophet saw till recent times except in areas where Islam is not practiced in its actual teachings.

  2. This is indeed a fascinating story, but it’s quite a bit more complicated than this short description suggests. If you are interested in a much fuller discussion of this story, both as history and memory, I encourage you to read its first careful examination by an historian, based on extensive research. That is, there’s a recently published, fascinating article on the subject, entitled “Did the Paris Mosque Save Jews? A Mystery and its Memory.” Here the article is linked:


Leave a Reply