In Wake of Priest's Murder, French Muslims Go to Mass

Local clerics refuse to bury the body of one murderer
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 31, 2016 7:02 AM CDT
In Wake of Priest's Murder, French Muslims Go to Mass
Imam Sami Salem delivers his speech during a Mass in Rome's Saint Mary in Trastevere church, Italy, Sunday, July 31, 2016. Imams and practicing Muslims attended Mass across Italy in a sign of solidarity after the France church attack in which an elderly priest was slain.   (Massimo Percossi/Ansa via AP)

In a gesture of solidarity following the gruesome killing of a French priest, Muslims have attended Catholic Mass in churches and cathedrals across the country and beyond, reports the AP. Television footage showed dozens of Muslims gathering at France's towering Gothic cathedral in Rouen, only a few kilometers from Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, where the 85-year-old priest was killed by two teenage attackers on Tuesday. It's not the local Muslim community's only show of solidarity: Clerics say that they refuse to bury 19-year-old attacker Adel Kermiche, reports the International Business Times. Says the president of the local Muslim association: "We're not going to taint Islam with this person. We won't participate in preparing the body or the burial."

Other interfaith gatherings took place elsewhere in France on Sunday. Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Mosque of Paris, was among those who attended a congregation at Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral. In Italy, the secretary general of the country's Islamic Confederation, Abdullah Cozzolino, spoke from the altar in the Treasure of St. Gennaro chapel next to Naples' Duomo cathedral. He talked of the need for "more affirmation of shared values." (More Mass stories.)

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