Muslims Attending French Mass in Solidarity: Love for All. Hate for None.
By Zahava Moerdler
On Sunday July 31, French Muslims attended Catholic mass in churches and cathedrals across France in a show of solidarity following the July 26 attack and brutal murder of a priest in Normandy. Rather than sowing division, faith leaders from across the religious spectrum have issued messages of unity in France in response to these attacks.
The French Muslim Council CFCM initiated the July 31 action, calling for Muslims to attend mass on Sunday to show “solidarity and compassion” over the murder of the priest. The head of CFCM, Anouar Kbibech, declared: “We are all Catholics of France.”
Many turned out at the cathedral in Rouen, near the site of the attack. After the service the archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, said he was “very moved by the presence of our Muslim friends, and I believe it is a courageous act that they did by coming to us.” Outside the church in Rouen congregants applauded a group of Muslims who unfurled a banner that read: “Love for all. Hate for none.”
These brave acts of unity and solidarity are important examples of positive messaging and joint action following the brutality witnessed in France in the past month. Instead of fear-mongering or divisive rhetoric, this is a time to stand in solidarity against acts of hate. In September, Human Rights First and Coexister will hold a two-day summit in Paris bringing together faith leaders, civil society, tech companies, and government officials to encourage collaboration on initiatives that counter hate and promote social cohesion.