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French Muslims Urged to Attend Sunday Mass

PARIS – In solidarity with Christian communities, a leading Muslim group in France has called on French Muslims to attend a church mass this Sunday to honor the priest slain by militants this week and stress unity between both religious communities.

The move is “to show our Christian brothers the solidarity and compassion of France’s Muslims in the wake of this new tragedy that has struck our country through an attack on a place of worship,” the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM) said in a statement quoted by TheLocal.fr on Friday, July 29.

The group said it was calling on all heads of mosques, Imams, and the faithful to visit any nearby churches, particularly for Sunday Mass.

The group also called for unity between France’s Muslim and Christian communities.

The CFCM also called on all mosques in France to hold talks during prayer on Friday about “the pivotal role that Islam plays in respecting other religions”, it said in a statement.

The invitation followed what the CFCM dubbed as the “cowardly assassination” of Father Jacques Hamel on Tuesday by two militants affiliated to the so-called Islamic State (ISIL).

Muslim leaders came out shortly after the horrendous attacks to condemn them.

Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris, said the attack was a “blasphemous sacrilege which goes against all the teachings of our religion.”

The Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF) has also condemned the shocking attack, expressing its full support to all the Christian communities in France.

The CFCM itself called it a “terrifying and horrifying act”, and was were backed by the Muslim group CRCM (Conseil régional du culte musulmam), which announced that it would hold a minute of silence for the victims on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the imam of the mosque in the northern French town where a church was attacked Tuesday said he was “stunned” by the murder of the local priest, who he described as a friend.

“I don’t understand, all of our prayers go to his family and the Catholic community,” said Mohammed Karabila.