Normandy town honours slain priest at memorial ceremony

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Mourners gathered in the Normandy town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray on Thursday to pay tribute to Father Jacques Hamel, the French priest who was murdered this week by two men linked to the Islamic State (IS) group.

Hundreds of people attended the memorial ceremony in the town’s municipal stadium, a short walk from the parish where the 86-year-old priest was brutally murdered on Tuesday.

Civil and religious officials, among them the town mayor, Hubert Wulfranc, and the archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, paid their respects to the elderly priest and called for unity between communities.

“Only words and acts of peace will help maintain the serenity and cohesion of families here and elsewhere,” said an emotional Mayor Wulfranc, adding that such a message would help counter "the dehumanisation of children".

'Everyone liked him, regardless of creed'

The ceremony began with Mozart’s Requiem and ended to the sound of the Marseillaise, France’s national anthem, after a minute of silence.

Earlier, the Catholic diocese in nearby Rouen said Father Hamel’s funeral would take place next Tuesday in the city’s renowned Gothic cathedral.

Muslims urged to attend Sunday mass

Also on Thursday, France’s leading Muslim organisation urged worshipers to go to mass on Sunday to express their “solidarity and compassion” following the priest’s “cowardly murder”.

The Conseil français du culte musulman (CFCM), an umbrella organisation of French Muslim groups, urged “mosque leaders, imams and the faithful to visit local churches, notably during Sunday mass, in order to once again express the solidarity and compassion of France’s Muslims to our Christian brothers".

In a statement, the CFCM also encouraged the country’s more than 2,300 mosques to stress, during Islam’s traditional Friday prayers, that “respecting other religions is of paramount importance to the Muslim faith”.

Muslim leaders have expressed their shock and horror at Father Hamel’s grisly murder, for which the IS group claimed credit.

Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, has described the attack as a "blasphemous sacrilege which goes against all the teachings of our religion".

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2016-07-28

نویسنده : بازدید : 16 تاريخ : شنبه 9 مرداد 1395 ساعت: 4:20