La Grande Mosquée de Paris

We visited today the Grande Mosquée de Paris, the Great Mosque of Paris – the largest Islamic mosque in France. Today was Heritage Day (or perhaps weekend) in France, where you get to visit official sites of the French heritage for free. We went to the mosque. It was nice, though honestly I’ve seen more impressive mosques in Morocco. But what really struck me was that I remembered a story about how the Muslims in France during WWII helped hundreds of Jews, mostly children, escape the Nazis. I just Googled the story and found the details. It was this Mosque.

The Imam of the mosque, Si Kaddour Benghabrit, basically helped Jews get false papers (certificates of Muslim identity, birth certificates, marriage certificates) and actually hid them in the Mosque, and in homes in the area, and if need be, he’d help them escape down the river Seine, hidding in cargo ships. A really amazing story.

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Here are a few photos of the Mosque, and afterwards we went and had mint tea in the Mosque’s tea room.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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