Religious leaders condemn IS attack on French priest

SBS World News Radio: Pope Francis says the latest IS-inspired attack on a French priest proves the "world is at war."

Religious leaders condemn IS attack on French priest

Religious leaders condemn IS attack on French priest

Religious leaders have condemned the attack as questions remain about how the attackers- one of whom was known to police- was able to carry out the assault.

At Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral, French Prime Minister Francois Hollande was joined by religious leaders to honour the life and ministry of Father Jacques Hamel.

The 84 year-old was killed this week when two men, inspired by I-S, stormed his church in Normandy and slit his throat.

Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois addressed the congregation.

"It's this hope, at the heart of the test, which forever bars the path of despair, of vengeance, and of death. It's this hope that animated the ministry of Father Jacques Hamel."

France's main religious leaders have sent a message of unity and solidarity following the attack.

The Rector of the Great Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, says he felt profoundly shocked by the events.

"I would like to take this occasion to express, in the name of the Muslims of France, the profound grief that we feel and the psychological shock we feel in the face of this blasphemous sacrilege that runs contrary to all teachings of our religion. This action is alien to Islam and all Muslims of France decry it and reject it in the most formal of ways."

Pope Francis is attending World Youth Day celebrations in Krakow.

He says a string of recent attacks in France and other countries prove the world is at war.

"When I speak of war I talk about real war, not a war of religion. There is a war of interests; there is a war for money; there is a war for natural resources; there is a war for domination of peoples. This is the war. Anyone who thinks I am talking of a religious war, no. All the religions want peace. Others want war."

IS has purportedly released pictures of the two men who carried out the attack, named as Abdel Malik and Adel Kermiche.

Both were shot dead by police after carrying out their deadly assault.

Neighbours and friends of Kermiche, who was known to French authorities and had tried to travel to Syria, say they suspected he would carry out such an attack.

A local man told the BBC all the warning signs were there.

"He was clearly pro-Daesh: he would say it loud and clear. His family tried everything. Once his parents took him to the police station and said 'lock him up, he's going to commit a crime'. The police said they were already monitoring him but couldn't lock him up without a reason."

French authorities are under increased pressure to explain the apparent failure in security processes.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says national security fears need to be balanced with constitutional laws.

"Everything that can be done under the rule of law has been done. There can still be some changes, discussions. We are open to suggestions from the opposition. But you cannot protect the rule of law by rejecting the rule of law."


3 min read
Published 28 July 2016 at 10:00am