Did this really happen?

The Paris Mosque is a real place that really was involved with both Algerian immigrants and the French Resistance. Its director Si Khaddour Ben Ghabrit really was awarded the Medal of the Resistance in 1947. The singer musician Salim Halali really did talk frequently about being saved by the Paris Mosque. The rest are "imagined" "composites"; most likely correct in spirit, but not aligned with any particualr individual.

For some evidence for the non-professional historian, a simple Google turned up http://parismosque.blogspot.com/p/main-characters.html . (Of course there's not lots and lots of evidence, because folks tend to not leave written records of their "illegal" activities.)

The Paris Mosque's main focus was Algerian immigrants - both Muslim and Jewish. It seems that it helped save only a few non-Algerian Jews, and all those were children.

The film shows that the immigrants were very poor, tended to live together in what amounted to ghettos, and weren't treated very well by the factories where they worked (hence the union activity). But much of this faded into the background for me anyway, until the "Extras" on the DVD called it out more explicitly. What the film doesn't show is that the poverty, separate living quarters (HLMs nowadays), and poor employment treatment continued. The film also shows explicitly that the immigrants' involvement with the French Resistance was motivated in large part by the idea Algeria would gain its independence too at the end of WWII. What the film doesn't show is that Algeria did _not_ get its independence as part of WWII; in fact the colonial mistreatment of Algeria by France continued for several more decades.

To dramatically oversimplify: although the Algerians weren't treated very well by the French either before or during or after WWII, the non-Frenchmen in the Paris Mosque did a pretty fair job of helping their fellow countrymen. In the process, the Paris Mosque also became a center of the French Resistance.

I'd fault the film for two things: One, making it too easy to misread as "typical" its portrayal of something unusual that centered elsewhere. And two, not saying anything at all about the aftermath of WWII.

I find the "conventional wisdom" about "history" to often be slanted or partially blind, and so am pleased whenever shining light into a previously dark corner provides a chance to "revise" the picture into something fuller and more nuanced.


The DVD has a nice segment with director, etc. about what is fact in the film.

Not an easy film to make. Plus lots of American viewers have no idea about this part of history and won't see, catch, understand some details.

By the way, this is not a documentary, don't expect it to be one.


Considering the fact that the Muslims largely sided with the Nazis (there were 500,000 Muslim volunteers in Waffen SS alone) I find the premise very hard to believe.

But what am I talking about? Why not? Most of the "French Resistance" is a post-war invention anyway.


...Muslims largely sided with the Nazis...

Huh? Reference?

(Anyway, WWII loyalties seemed to have a lot more to do with which country one was from than with what religion one subscribed to. Isn't saying "most Muslims" rather like saying "most Catholics"?)


Googling "Muslims and Nazis" will give you over 11 million links. Take your pick of photos, documents, Waffen SS unit registries, Amin Al Husseini's activities during the WW II, Hitler's reception in the Arab world, Holocaust copy-cats in the Middle East and North Africa, “In heaven Allah is your ruler, on earth - Hitler" posters etc.


>>> Googling "Muslims and Nazis" will give you over 11 million links.

Googling "Jews and Nazis" will give you over 45 million links.
Your approach is plain stupid.

If you want to do Jewish propaganda here, don't bother because nobody buys it anymore.
We've all witnessed what Jews have done in Palestine and all Middle East for the past 60. It's on all over internet.

If you want to make an analogy with Nazis, it's not Muslims. Jews are the today's "Nazis". They've been terrorizing the countries in Middle East with Israel and US governments.


I would love to hear your sources for both your comments, 500,000 muslim volunteers in the Waffen SS really? how many Catholics or Russian Orthodox?
The French resistance did exist but of course it was never bigger than when the allies were about to liberate France,and lots of people were post D day resisters.

But there were enough real resisters,if you go to France you sometimes see signs on walls remembering those who did resist and who died for France.

Someone once said history is debate without end,but this film is based on fact.


500.000 voluteers? Now, that I find it hard to believe.


Check it out.


Yes "check it out" but the idea is you tell us your sources for your "information"and we study them.
As I already said there is a myth of the French resistance but it was also a real thing with real heroes and real villains.

You might also consider that whatever the anti jewish feelings muslims might have most of then did not live under nazi rule so the fact is that the holocaust was carried out under German leadership by people who were mostly of christian background.

Internet sources can be helpful but there are lots of books on the subjects you mention,some almost unreadable unless you are an expert but some written for the ordinary reader.


Many Muslims volunteered to fight for the Nazis, but they were predominantly Arab and East European Muslims. The Algerians don't have a long history as part of the Arab world; their prior heritage is Berber. In the early 20th century they were fairly tolerant of Jews, if you compare them to other Muslims rather than to modern democratic Western societies.


They didn't 'side with the Waffen SS' - they accepted help from The Germans in the form of Arms and Ammunition to drive out The Imperialist Invaders (in most cases The British and The French) who were raping their native lands and treating the indigenous populations there like cattle. BTW, it wasn't only The 'Muslims' (really The Arabs - as several of those who sided with The Germans were Christian, Druze, Communist and Shephardic Jews as well) who sided with The Germans - several Hindu groups who were fighting for India's independence were also seeking Hitler's help - the question is - WHY would oppressed third word people want to associate with such racist fascists? Well, because the current Imperialist plunderers were much worse - India which was ruled by The British Empire used to hoard food grown there NOT for the native populance, but for the sustenance of The Foreign British Army! As a result India would have annual famines with massive death tolls every year - which would increase depending on whether there was a natural calamity like a flood and a drought. Over three MILLION Indians died in the worst year - roughly half the amount that died in the pathetic 'so-called' Holocaust! So you can imagine the level of anger and resentment that existed to prompt someone to seek help from Hitler - after all, the enemy of your enemy is my friend, right?

P.S. I've noticed that mrousine has a majority of posts dedicated to slandering Arabs/Muslims on his message board history. No doubt he must be some cowardly Zionist braggart who is well paid by Israel to post several times a day here - give it up mate, everyone knows what the heck your kind REALLY are ....


About the last point, being that it's a French movie, a French audience would generally be aware that Algeria didn't gain it's independence until 1.5 decades later. It would be like an American movie where blacks who were fighting in WW2 would say that they will finally win their civil rights when the war is over. Most Americans would or should know it took a bit longer that and no disclaimer would be needed. So I don't think it was an oversight.

Welcome to Costco, I love you...


I'd fault the film for two things: One, making it too easy to misread as "typical" its portrayal of something unusual that centered elsewhere. And two, not saying anything at all about the aftermath of WWII.
The film's intent appeared to be to show how an Algerian in Paris, any Algerian in Paris might have been drawn into the French resistance and later into the war for Algerian independence. The film was not trying to tell the story of the mosque, of Si Khaddour Ben Ghabrit or Salim Hallali. In telling the story of Younes it honours the mosque, Ben Ghravit and Hallali. I would imagine that a good many who watch this film know what happened to Algeria after WW2 and have seen some of the many French language films on the subject.

The expectation that this is a film telling a true story is what's at fault. Instead it is an imaginative exercise that is understated, beautifully filmed and well acted. I thought the character of Younes was very well drawn; engaging enough for the audience to care about him but opaque enough that we are left with some mystery and our imaginings.
Why problem make? When you no problem have, you don't want to make ...


Almost everybody above is partially right. Likely including me.

Many arabs sided with Hitler
There was a Muslim division of the SS
They talked about erecting gas chambers in the middle east

Most arabs were not involved on either side and would have preferred to be left alone

Some arabs helped the allies and a number of them expected to be paid after the war with land and titles like after WW1

Hitler did espouse positive feelings for the militant aspects of Islam and decried the more pacifist leanings of Christianity and Judaism. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem did become an SS officer.

The point of this movie was that people can be courageous and righteous. A nice SciFi version of this was the movie Enemy Mine.

from wiki about Algeria in WWII

"In 1941 the property of the Jews was confiscated. However, in a sign of the solidarity in suffering, not a single Muslim Algerian took advantage of Jewish confiscated property; on a Friday in 1941, religious leaders throughout Algiers delivered sermons warning Muslims against participation in schemes to strip Jews of their property. … In 1941 some Jews joined the anti-Nazi underground. Many Jews were caught and were sent to labor camps or were executed."

A similar support was seen in Morocco, less than a hundred years after about 400 Jews were killed by Moors in Morroco and many more fled.

The myth of tolerance is just that, a myth. As with all mixed populations around the world, times of plenty led to tolerance while times of poverty, pestilence, war, and famine led to anti-Jewish riots and actions. One generation would welcome Jews and then a few generations later, enslave, rob, expel, forcibly convert, or murder them. This goes back to ancient times. Just read the the story of Jacob and Joseph.