Muslims are attending Catholic mass around France in a show of solidarity in the wake of a brutal murder of a priest during an ISIS-influenced attack.
Over 100 Muslims were among the 2,000 gathered at the Cathedral Rouen near the town in Normandy where two teens slit the throat of 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel.
“I thank you in the name of all Christians,” Rouen Archbishop Dominique Lebrun told the attendees. “In this way you are affirming that you reject death and violence in the name of God.”
In addition, Otaman Aissaoui, the head imam in Nice, France, led a delegation to a Catholic mass in the southern city where Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel used a truck to carry out an attack on Bastille Day, claiming 84 lives and injuring 435, including many Muslims.
“Being united is a response to the act of horror and barbarism,” Aissaoui said.
According to Al Jazeera, the Notre Dame church in southwestern Bordeaux also had a Muslim delegation attend, led by the city’s head imam Tareq Oubrou.
Muslims in France attend church services in a show of solidarity after the killing of Father Jacques Hamel pic.twitter.com/7HRMaK4Pnc
— Catrin Nye (@CatrinNye) July 30, 2016
“It’s an occasion to show [Muslims] that we do not confuse Islam with Islamism, Muslim with jihadist,” said Reverend Jean Rouet.
From Al Jazeera:
The Muslims were responding to a call by the French Muslim council CFCM to show their “solidarity and compassion” over the priest’s murder on Tuesday.
“I’m a practicing Muslim and I came to share my sorrow and tell you that we are brothers and sisters,” said a woman wearing a beige headscarf who sat in a back pew at a church in central Paris:
Giving her name only as Sadia, she added softly: “What happened is beyond comprehension.”
This Sunday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for a new “pact” with France’s Muslims, whose numbers are at around 5 million, the largest in Europe.
“Islam has found its place in France … contrary to the repeated attacks of populists on the right and far-right,” he said, condemning “this intolerable rejection of Islam and Muslims.”
Watch a report on the story from NBC Nightly News below:
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) July 31, 2016