‘He tainted Islam’: Muslim community refuses to bury French priest killer

The Muslim community in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in northern France, where two jihadists slit Father Jacques Hamel’s throat, is refusing to bury one of the attackers, saying that he put a stain on Islam, the French media reported.

Algerian-born 19-year-old Adel Kermiche was one of the two attackers who killed the 85-year-old priest and seriously injured an elderly parishioner. A French citizen, he was living in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray and attempted to join Islamic jihadists in Syria back in 2015.

“We’re not going to taint Islam with this person,” Mohammed Karabila, a leader at a local mosque, told Le Parisien, “We won’t participate in preparing the body [for the burial] or the burial.”

A Muslim worshiper, Khalid El Amrani, supported the move, saying that the refusal to bury the terrorist is “normal.”

“What this young man did is sinful,” the 25-year-old engineer said, “He is no longer part of our community.”

Now it is up to the local authorities to decide how to issue the burial permit for Kermiche.

Father Hamel was killed on Tuesday after having his throat slit during a hostage situation at the local church. French police killed the attackers, Kermiche and 19-year-old Abdel Malik Petitjean, as they tried to flee the 17th century Catholic Church.

A Muslim worshiper, Khalid El Amrani, supported the move, saying that the refusal to bury the terrorist is “normal.”

“What this young man did is sinful,” the 25-year-old engineer said, “He is no longer part of our community.” Now it is up to the local authorities to decide how to issue the burial permit for Kermiche.

Father Hamel was killed on Tuesday after having his throat slit during a hostage situation at the local church. French police killed the attackers, Kermiche and 19-year-old Abdel Malik Petitjean, as they tried to flee the 17th century Catholic Church.

The pair had previously pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group, who subsequently claimed responsibility for the attack.

Following the tragedy French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he was considering a temporary ban on the foreign financing of mosques. Valls said France needed to re-think its relationship with Islam. On Sunday Muslims attended Catholic Mass in churches across France and abroad. Up to 200 Muslims gathered at the towering Gothic cathedral in Rouen, only a few kilometers from Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

“We’re very touched,” Archbishop Dominique Lebrun told broadcaster BFMTV.

“It’s an important gesture of fraternity. They’ve told us, and I think they’re sincere, that it’s not Islam which killed Jacques Hamel.”

At Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Paris Mosque, said that Muslims want to live in peace.

“The situation is serious,” he said. “The time has come, to come together, so as not to be divided.” The move to attend the Catholic services was made by the French Council for the Muslim Faith (CFCM), which dubbed the attack as a “cowardly assassination.”

The Muslims should “show our Christian brothers the solidarity and compassion of France’s Muslims in the wake of this new tragedy that has struck our country through an attack on a place of worship,” the group said.

France has been on high alert following a deadly attack in Nice on July 14. At least 84 people were killed when a truck plowed through a crowd during Bastille Day celebrations. Weapons and grenades were found in the vehicle following the rampage. Several days later a news agency linked to IS released a statement in which the group claimed responsibility for the attack.

French soldiers injured in knife attack

Three soldiers guarding a Jewish community center in Nice were attacked by a man armed with a knife. Two were injured.

Sharon Baron, a police official in Nice, said that the attack had been apprehended near the Galeries Lafayette. The assailant had carried an identification card with his name, Moussa Coulibaly. He has the same last name as the man who took a kosher supermarket hostage and killed five people, including a policewoman.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland said that the suspect has no relation to the previous gunman and that French authorities “are treating this as a potentially terrorist incident.”

A local police official stated that the assailant wielded a knife of no less than 20 centimeters and attacked one soldier, injuring him in the chin. He then attacked the other two before being stopped by nearby police officers.

The attacker is around 30 years old and has a record of theft and violence. His motives remain unclear.

Paris Attacks: 10,000 troops deployed as France hunts for accomplices

Following the deadly attack at Charlie Hebdo and hostage-taking at a kosher market in Paris, the government is deploying 10,000 troops throughout France and sending 5,000 police to protect Jewish sites. Authorities continue to search for the accomplices to both attacks. Prime Minister Manuel Valls believes that the gunman who killed a policewoman and four other people after taking a customers in a kosher store hostage had an accomplice. He stated that “the threat is still present” after the attacks and that “the work on these attacks, on these terrorist and barbaric acts continues…because we consider that there are most probably some possible accomplices.”

Defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian affirmed that troops would guard any sensitive locations. Following a national security crisis meeting he stated: “We have decided…to mobilize 10,000 men to protect sensitive sites throughout the country starting tomorrow [Tuesday] evening. This is the first time our troops have mobilized to such an extent on our own soil. The threats remain and we have to protect ourselves from them. It is an internal operation that will mobilize almost as many men as we have in our overseas operations.”

In response to the public’s fear seven hundred police officers are guarding 717 Jewish schools throughout the country. There are already 4,100 gendarmes deployed.

It is not known how many accomplices French authorities are searching for, but it is believed that Coulibaly’s partner Hayat Boumeddienne has fled to Syria. The security meeting was held after the video of Coulibaly declaring his allegiance to ISIL was released on the Internet. In the video Coulibaly states that he collaborated with the Kouachi brothers.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that he would travel to Paris for talks on countering violent extremism. His statement followed criticism of the Obama administration for not sending anyone to attend the rally that drew between 1.5 and 2 million people. Marchers carried pencils, pens and placards that read “Nous sommes la République” and “Je suis Muslim.” The march was led by the victims’ families and a group of 50 world leaders including President Hollande, Angela Merkel and Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas.

GOP Congressman Says Islam Will ‘Motivate People To Murder Children’

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) during a hearing on Friday said that he believes that Islam as a whole is a threat to the United States, labeling it as a religion that will “motivate people to murder children.” During a hearing he chaired on “Islamist Extremism in Chechnya: A Threat to the U.S. Homeland?” Rohrabacher continually referred to the 2004 Beslan hostage situation  in which Chechen extremists took control of a school in Russia resulting in the death of more than 180 children  as an example of the threat that Islam poses. At one point, the California Republican sought to clarify that he wasn’t opposed to any religious group gaining power within a region  only Islam. “What we need to worry about is if it happens to be a religion that convinces people that part of their faith is to go off and murder other people’s children,” he said, referring to Islam broadly. Later in the hearing, Rohrabacher was more clear: Islamophobia has seen a resurgence in the aftermath of the Boston attacks, with Fox News leading the charge in promoting a new wave of fear towards Muslims. Rohrabacher is no stranger himself to controversy surrounding Islam. In 2012, he accused President Obama of “pandering to radical Islamic forces” in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack.

French imams condemn Cameroon hostage taking

20.02.2013

Le Figaro

Members of the Muslim community of Montpellier, central France, have launched an appeal to free the seven French hostages and all other hostages taken by members by Muslim extremists in Cameroon. The appeal was joined by the Imam of the mosque in Montpellier-Mosson, the Association of Mosson and the Mosque Association of Louis Raven.

Mohammed Khai, leader of the Association of Mosson, declared that “it is time to say stop to the ravages in the name of religion”.

Toulouse hostage gunman, claiming to be linked to al-Qaeda, arrested

News Agencies – June 20, 2012

French police have detained a gunman who held four people hostage at a bank in the southern city of Toulouse for almost seven hours. The man initially demanded money but when he was refused, a shot was fired and the hostages taken. Claiming to be linked to al-Qaeda, he demanded to speak to the elite Raid police unit that killed Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah nearby in March.

He freed two hostages before police stormed the bank and detained him. The gunman was said to have been wounded in the thigh, but not seriously. His two remaining hostages are not thought to have been harmed.

A police union source told the regional newspaper Ouest-France it was not clear whether the man’s claim about al-Qaeda was “serious or a fantasy”. The hostage-taker was believed to be around 30 years old and known to the authorities, Toulouse newspaper La Depeche reported. He was from Castres, to the east of Toulouse, and one source told the paper he was a schizophrenic who had broken off his treatment.

Al-Qaeda demands 90 million Euros for French hostages

RFI – March 21, 2011
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) is demanding at least 90 million euros ransom for the release of four French hostages held since September, a source close to mediators indicated. The French citizens were kidnapped in September 2010 in neighbouring Niger, where France has a large stake in uranium mining, and are still being held hostage in the desert.
The kidnappers want at least 90 million euros and the release of Aqim prisoners held in several countries, including France, an anonymous source told the AFP news agency. An abortive rescue attempt resulted in the deaths of two French hostages in January. Three others, including one French citizen, were freed in February.

News Agencies – March 16, 2011

Religious leaders, politicians and heads of suburban organizations met at the initiative of the national federation of the Paris Mosque, the Council of Democratic Muslims in France and the Banlieues Respect Collective in order to decide on action against the planned debate on secularism.

Banlieues Respect says that such a debate will lead to laws stigmatizing Muslims, and in the spirit of inter-religious solidarity, requested the Church of France to make its empty churches available for Friday prayer, so that Muslims won’t pray in the streets and be held hostage by politicians.

Self-Proclaimed Imams Proselytizing in Italian Prisons: A Conversion Boom

The article’s writer deals with the problem of jihadist radicalisation in Italian penitentiary institutions. He warns of the risk of self-proclaimed imams who proselytize other Muslim prisoners, leading them towards extremism. According to European reports, in many Italian prisons Muslims enter as thieves and come out as Islamists. Once freed from prison they are recruited. This means that, although the recruitment doesn’t take place inside the prison, connections are nevertheless possible and even actively established with the outside. Many convert to Islam when in jail because Islam gives them a sense of redemption. In the light of this spiritual need, the author suggests, it would be advisable that along with Christian chaplains, official imams should be appointed to provide their services in Italian prisons. 80 Islamists are in Italian prisons for crimes related to terrorism. They have received a strong military preparation as well as the logistic and organisational capacity to guide the gangs in prisons. In such a scenario, the main risk is posed by rebellions: there have been protests by Muslims about the overcrowding of prisons and for perceived religious and civil persecutions by the maximum-security regime. The author warns that the terrorists in our prisons would be ready to die in the name of their jihad and that, in the event of a rebellion, they would not hesitate to take prison officers hostage.

Blasphemy, insult and hatred – Finding answers in a democratic society

Mutual understanding and acceptance is perhaps the main challenge of modern society. Diversity is undoubtedly an asset, but cohabiting with people of different backgrounds and ideas calls for a new ethic of
responsible intercultural relations, in Europe and in the world.

This book tries to answer a series of pertinent and poignant questions arising from these issues, such as whether it is still possible to criticize ideas when this may be considered hurtful to certain religious feelings; whether society is hostage to the excessive sensitivity of certain individuals; or what legal responses there may be to these phenomena, and whether criminal law is the only answer.