French Muslim leaders call on imams to use influence of pulpit against Islamic State militants

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French Muslim leaders are calling on imams to use their pulpit to weigh against the Islamic State group and offer a message of support for Christians in the Middle East.

Christians there are fleeing the militant organization by the thousands as they face a choice between converting or death.

On Tuesday, moderate Muslim leaders called on French mosques nationwide to offer prayers for endangered Christians and send a message to young people that the Islamic State group is neither Muslim nor a state.

Dalil Boubakeur, rector of Paris' principle mosque, said it was crucial to support Christians against barbarity: "We are all, no matter our religion, Christians of the Middle East."

French young people make up the largest number of European jihadis heading to fight in Syria and Iraq.