Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray (France) (AFP) – “You are welcome here.” It is with these words that the priest of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray wide open the doors of his parish Saturday, dozens of Muslim worshipers at the vigil in memory of the slain father Jacques Hamel Tuesday. A first for these believers, “in this other house of god”.
As a group, just after the Asr prayer, which marks the end of the afternoon, the Muslim faithful have testified their solidarity with the Catholic community of Saint-Etienne, where Hamel priest was murdered by a jihadist commando. Under the watchful eye of Father Auguste Moanda, Muslims and kufis kami in traditional outfit worn for prayer, joined some 400 Catholics on the banks of the St. Therese church Madrillet.
as for many it is the first time qu’Abdelsalam enters a church, “another house of god”. Moved by the ceremony, the retiree does “not understand that we can tackle brothers.” “We are all affected when we attack the house of God. Even if it’s not the same religion, we are all alike,” he notes.
The 50 Muslims present listened attentively to the sermon of father Moanda, for whom “the brotherhood between the two religions.” “It’s a beautiful image, it’s symbolic, it’s hard. It must relive this every day,” said the father.
Moha, he came right after his prayer to Yahia mosque, separated from the church by a driveway, to “make a second” with Catholics. “It’s unfortunate what happens, to see people sad inside,” he is sorry.
Fouad, a 25 year old engineer, said his side “proud be next to a church. ” “It is rare in France to see such nearby, said he. I come as a practicing Muslim show my solidarity and ensure that there is no confusion with these lost sheep who not represent Islam “
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Before leaving the parish, Fouad write” solidarity “and” peace “on the condolence book. Others registered words in Arabic as “salam”, “peace”.
Many Christians have responded to the call of the Diocese of Rouen come to pay tribute to the father Hamel. In a packed church from 18:00 at the entrance of which was posted a police truck, Mass was held peacefully, followed by the evening.
The faithful of all faiths sang in choir excerpts from the Gospel, facing a portrait of Hamel father arranged on a platform surrounded by bouquets of flowers.
Nicole, 60, who is yet came early, failed to find seating. She is delighted to see Muslim present at the Mass: “We need to gather this by uniting we will be able to fight.” She told AFP
Catholic practitioner Guida usually frequent the second church of Saint-Etienne, where the 85 year old priest was murdered on Tuesday and is still closed. She came “to honor his memory. He was a unique, she says. I helped in the preparation for catechism. It’s awful. I still do not sleep but be reconstruct all together. “
Jean Manuel, her husband nods.” We have to be there, it is important to be supportive “
Four days after the tragedy, the emotion remained high in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, but also throughout France where dozens of events brought together Christians and Muslims.