Muslims in France attended Catholic Mass Sunday, following the brutal murder of a priest in Normany.
More than 100 Muslims were among the 2,000 parishioners who filled the pews of the Cathedral of Rouen, the town near where two Islamic militants slit the throat of 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel, according to French news outlet, The Local.
“We are very moved by the presence of our Muslim friends and I believe it is a courageous act that they did by coming to us,” Rouen’s Archbishop Dominique Lebrun said following the Mass Sunday.
Mohammed Karabila, president of the mosque in the town where Hamel was killed, told the BBC, “today we wanted to show physically, by kissing the family of Jacques Hamel, by kissing His Grace Lebrun in front of everybody, so they know that the two communities are united.”
The two radical Islamists took two nuns, two parishioners and Hamel hostage during the July 26 attack. The men slit Hamel’s throat before police could shoot the terrorists dead. Another hostage was seriously injured and police were able to rescue the remaining three.
One of the Islamic militants, Abel Kermiche was under French police surveillance and was required to wear an electronic surveillance bracelet and check in with police daily. Kermiche was allowed to leave home without surveillance five hours each day, according to reports. The bracelet was deactivated for a few hours every morning, this is when Kermiche carried out the attack.
Pope Francis condemned and mourned the attack, and the Vatican called Hamel’s murder “barbaric.” French President Francois Hollande called the attack and killing a “vile terrorist attack” and doubled down on France’s commitment to battling the Islamic State. “We are put to the test yet again,” Hollande said, according to NPR.
The brutal murder follows the recent attack in Nice where more than 80 people were killed when a militant drove a truck through crowds of party-goers celebrating Bastille Day earlier in July.
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