PARIS – In a gesture of solidarity following the gruesome killing of a French priest, Muslims on Sunday attended Catholic Mass in churches and cathedrals across France and beyond.
Reporters on the scene said that between 100 and 200 Muslims gathered at the towering Gothic cathedral in Rouen, only a few miles from Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, where the 85-year-old Rev. Jacques Hamel was killed by two teenage attackers on Tuesday.
Outside the church, a group of Muslims were applauded when they unfurled a banner: “Love for all. Hate for none.”
Similar interfaith gatherings were repeated elsewhere in France, as well as in neighboring Italy.
The church attackers have been identified as 19-year-olds Abdel-Malik Nabil Petitjean and Adel Kermiche. Both were from the Normandy region of France, where the attack took place, and had tried at some point to go to Syria to fight alongside extremists. The attack was claimed the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, which released a video allegedly showing Kermiche and his accomplice clasping hands and pledging allegiance to the group.
At Paris’ iconic Notre Dame cathedral, Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Mosque of Paris, said repeatedly that Muslims want to live in peace.
“The situation is serious,” he told BFMTV. “Time has come to come together so as not to be divided.”