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Muslims Attend Mass after Murder of French Priest | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iman Sami Salem (L) and Imam Mohammed ben Mohammed (R) stand during a mass in the church Santa Maria in trastevere in Rome on July 31, 2016 (AFP Photo/Tiziana Fabi)

Saint Etienne du Rouvray – Muslims of Europe participated in mass five days after Father Jacques Hamel was killed by terrorists in a church in Saint Etienne du Rouvary, west of France.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls wrote a tribute in “Le Journal du Dimanche” newspaper calling for a new “pact” with the Muslim community in France, the third largest religion in the country.

Valls said: “Islam has found its place in France … contrary to the repeated attacks of populists on the right and far-right,” he said, condemning “this intolerable rejection of Islam and Muslims.”

Earlier, during an interview with Le Monde newspaper, Valls called for preparing imams inside Europe and not any other place.

Meanwhile, investigations continue after the attack of Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Petitjean, both 19-year-olds, who were killed by the security forces. The attack was adopted by ISIS.

Hundreds of Muslims across France attended Catholic Mass in a gesture of solidarity after Kermiche and Petitjean slit the throat of 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel.

In the church of Saint Etienne du Rouvary, Muslims and Catholics gathered near the picture of Hamel to listen to the sermon of the priest where he said that fraternity between both religions still exists.

While in Bordeaux, a Muslim delegation led by imam Tareq Oubrou attended the mass at the Notre Dame church.

Oubrou told the press that this is an important moment where all religions must unite to fight this madness that threatens everyone. He added that terrorism is blind, destructive, and aims to create strife between religions.

Investigations uncovered the environment that both Kermich and Petitjean worked within. They both were under the radar of the intelligence services.

Investigation is still ongoing regarding a minor who was arrested after discovering extremist files on his phone. He was released later on. Intelligence is also looking into his brother who was close to Kermich and went to Iraq and Syria in 2015.

Recently, a 17-year old was arrested in Geneva after he was trying to head to Syria. The young man had tried to travel to Syria with Kermich in 2015. He was arrested and sent to France for imprisonment.

On Friday, a 19-year old man was indicted after he had been on the security services list of extremists for a long time. He was arrested on July 25. Intelligence also discovered on his phone a video of Petitjean speaking about violent attacks and pledging allegiance to ISIS.

In addition, police are also looking into a 20-year old French who was arrested after he headed to Turkey with Petitjean while they were trying to enter Syria. They were later deported to France.