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Christians, Muslims mourn murdered French priest
World

Christians, Muslims mourn murdered French priest

31.07.2016 From our online archive
Muslim and Christian groups came together Saturday to mourn a French priest murdered by jihadists, as authorities charged a man in connection with the brutal church attack that rocked the nation.

(AFP) Muslim and Christian groups came together Saturday to mourn a French priest murdered by jihadists, as authorities charged a man in connection with the brutal church attack that rocked the nation.

A shellshocked France is still coming to terms with the jihadist killing of the clergyman at the altar in his church, sparking fears of tensions between religions in the secular nation.

In a bid to forge togetherness between the communities, a "brotherhood march" was held in the southeastern city of Lyon, supported by a regional Muslim council and a Catholic group.

Hundreds of people marched in silence, as mourners at the front of the crowd carried banners that read: "This is not a religious war" and "We are all brothers and sisters."

"We think it is crucial to leave no room for resignation, resentment or fear, and to take a stand for togetherness," Abdelkader Bendidi, who heads the regional Muslim council, said in a statement.

"Let's not give the agents of terror a second victory by giving in to hate," said Azzedine Gaci, a local imam.

"It doesn't matter what our religious beliefs are, or if we have none at all. These attacks won't divide us. Instead, they will unite us around one idea: reconciliation," said Foucauld Giuliani, of a Catholic group.

In the southwestern city of Bordeaux, some 400 people attended a vigil for the 85-year-old Jacques Hamel, who had his throat slit by IS-inspired teenaged attackers.

Prayers were also held in the Saint-Etienne church where the killing took place as Hamel was celebrating mass on Tuesday.

Among the 300 people who attended the evening mass in northern Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, some 50 were Muslims.