A delegation from the Iranian community of Val-d’Oise attended a special mass in Pontoise this Sunday in response to the call by the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) for a “day of solidarity” between France’s Muslims and the victims of terrorism in France. The brutal death of an 86-year old priest, killed last week by two Islamist extremists in front of three nuns and two parishioners, provoked strong emotion among many French Muslims. Those who attended the mass came to commemorate the life of Father Jacques Hamel alongside their Catholic counterparts and show interfaith unity against terrorism.
Father Edward Georges, who commemorated the special mass at Pontoise, called “all humanists of the world” to show unity against extremism and intolerance. The new prefect of Val-d’Oise, Jean Yves Latournerie, was also present.
The Iranian community of Auvers-sur-Oise also responded to the call of the CFCM to show “solidarity and compassion”. The Conference of French Bishops has called on parishioners to offer them a “brotherly welcome”.
Some Iranian women also shared the message of Maryam Radjavi, President of the National Council of Iranian Resistance (NCRI), an organization based in Auvers-sur-Oise. Radjavi and the NCRI as an organization fiercely condemned the terrorist attack on the Church of Saint Etienne du Rouvray, near Rouen, in a communiqué released on July 26th, calling it an “attack that flagrantly defies all religious teachings and human values.”
“These savage attacks remind us Iranians of the crimes committed against the Iranian people over the course of Iran’s 37 years of religious dictatorship, and the Catholic, Shiite, and Sunni religious leaders who refused to bend to the Mollah’s dictates,” said the statement. “The Iranian people, who live under the yoke of a fundamentalist fascist state that engages in terrorism against its own citizens, are well-placed to understand the suffering of the French in these difficult times, and remains at their side.”
Saint-Germain-Des-Près Church also saw many Iranians among the Muslims in attendance as part of the “day of solidarity” on Sunday, offering messages of compassion and togetherness.