(ROUEN, France) — 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 Italy.
A few dozen Muslims gathered at the towering Gothic cathedral in Rouen, near Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray where the 85-year-old Rev. Jacques Hamel had his throat slit by two teenage Muslim fanatics on Tuesday.
“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,” Dominique Lebrun, the archbishop of Rouen, said after the service.
Some of the Muslims sat in the front row, across from the altar. Among the parishioners was one of the nuns who was briefly taken hostage at Hamel’s church when he was killed. She joined her fellow Catholics in turning to shake hands or embrace the Muslim churchgoers after the service.
Outside the church, a group of Muslims were applauded when they unfurled a banner: “Love for all. Hate for none.”
Churchgoer Jacqueline Prevot said the attendance of Muslims was “a magnificent gesture.”
“Look at this whole Muslim community that attended Mass,” she said. “I find this very heartwarming. I am confident. I say to myself that this assassination won’t be lost, that it will maybe relaunch us better than politics can do. Maybe we will react