By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
In a brief but solemn ceremony on Friday, June 4, newly arrived Algerian Ambassador to Mexico Djamel-Eddine Grine and his staff paid homage to Emir Abdelkader, the founder of the modern Algerian state, with a wreath-laying and speech in front of the statue of Abdelkader in Mexico City’s upscale Lomas de Chapultepec.
A Muslim scholar and astute military leader who led Algeria’s struggle against French colonial powers in the mid-19th century, Abdelkader was renowned for his respect for human rights of all religions and races, as well as his moral commitment to equality and freedom of expression.
The ceremony on Friday marked the anniversary of Abdelkader’s 1883 death.
In his speech, Grine compared Abdelkader to Mexican freedom fighters, including Benito Juárez and Emiliano Zapata.
The statue of Abdelkader was inaugurated on Avenida Virreyes in 2008 as a symbol of the bilateral friendship between Mexico and Algeria.