The New Vision

Slain French priest was attack on ‘all of us,’ imam said

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By Carol Zimmermann
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Father Jacques Hamel’s gruesome murder in northern France July 26 — by men claiming allegiance to the Islamic State — prompted sorrow and outrage from Muslim leaders around the world.
“This attack in a place of worship and on innocent worshippers in particular demonstrates that there are no boundaries to the depravity of these murderers,” wrote Imam Qari Muhammad Asim, senior imam at the Makkah Mosque in Leeds, England.
The knife-yielding attackers slit the throat of 85-year-old Father Hamel and also injured two others in the church, Eglise St.-Etienne, before they were fatally shot by police.
“In this extremely difficult time for the Catholic community, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of all faiths,” the English imam said in a statement. “An attack on any place of worship is an attack on a way of life of faith communities and therefore an attack on all of us.”
Muslims and Jews attended Father Hamel’s Aug. 2 funeral at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Rouen. “It was a duty,” Hassan Houays, a Muslim teacher from Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, told the AFP news agency. “We are here so that we can get along together.”
That solidarity also was evident July 31 when Muslims leaders and community members attended Masses at the Notre Dame Cathedrals in Paris and Rouen, France, and Catholic basilicas in Rome.
Yahya Yahe Pallavicini, vice president of the Islamic Religious Community of Italy, attended Mass at Rome’s Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem with about two dozen representatives of the community.
At a gathering before Mass, he said they came to “demonstrate brotherhood and to defend the sacred values of religion.”

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