Abbas el Hocine Bencheikh called Sheikh Abbas (Mila Algeria 1912-Paris 3 May 1989), was an Algerian diplomat, a cleric a writer, and the rector of the Muslim Institute and the Great Mosque of Paris until his death. Known in the political and interreligious scenes by his wisdom and tolerance environment, he left many disciples including his own son, Soheib Bencheikh, the researcher in theology and former Mufti of Marseille, and Ghaleb Bencheikh, the physicist and host of the program "Islam" broadcast on France 2.
After theological studies in family brotherhood and once aged 21, Sheikh Abbas studied at the Islamic University of Zaytuna in Tunis and that of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez. After ten years, he returned to Algeria and became the disciple of the reformer Abdelhamid Ben Badis. He campaigned with him for religious and political reform (commonly known as "al-iṣlāḥ" by Muslim reformists). At independence of Algeria, he was appointed ambassador to Saudi Arabia, following his resignation from the post he has held the office of President of the Supreme Islamic Council of Algeria, a seat he left by personal choice to pursue the weekly preaching in the Great Mosque of Algiers. In 1982, Sheikh Abbas took charge of the Great Mosque of Paris, succeeding Sheikh Hamza Boubakeur. He restructured the mosque by creating a second prayer room and putting in place many cultural services, social associations etc..
He allowed the mosque to receive a share of a specific budget from the Department of Endowments of Algeria and secondly to develop a body of imams whose number (80 imams) is still the same nowadays.
He intervened to resolve the painful issue of divorce between binational families, especially in defending the rights of French mothers whose children had been brought in Algeria after the divorce. He also interjected to facilitate the return of many French-Muslims (Harkis) who had left the Algeria since independence in 1962 and stay there instead.
- Abbas Bencheikh, Official website of the Paris mosque