• France's news in English
Thousands to turn out for funeral of slain French priest
Photo: AFP

Thousands to turn out for funeral of slain French priest

AFP/The Local · 2 Aug 2016, 07:49

Published: 02 Aug 2016 07:49 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

French priest Father Jacques Hamel, who was murdered in an attack by two jihadists on his Catholic church in a Normandy town, will be laid to rest on Tuesday.

According to his diocese, the funeral for the 85-year-old priest will be held at the 11th-century Gothic cathedral of the northern city of Rouen, where Muslims and Christians came together to mourn his death at a mass on Sunday.

He will then be buried in a ceremony attended only by close family members, at a location which has not been revealed.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is expected to attend the funeral mass along with around 2,000 other mourners, however president François Hollande is not expected to attend. Hundreds more are expected to gather outside the cathedral.

The service will take place amid tight security, given the heightened terror threat. A big screen will be set up outside the cathedral to broadcast the service for those who cannot get inside.

Hamel became the latest victim of a terror attack in France when two 19-year-old jihadists stormed his church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray last Tuesday and slit his throat at the altar.

Abdel Malik Petitjean and Adel Kermiche had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and both were shot dead by police after a tense hostage drama in which a worshipper was left seriously wounded. Three other hostages escaped unharmed.

The attack stunned France's religious communities, sparking fears of tensions in a country with a population of some five million Muslims.

However, the two communities have largely rallied together, with churches opening their doors to Muslims on Sunday for a moving tribute to Hamel, and against radical Islam.

Pope Francis said Islam could not be equated with terrorism.

"It's not true and it's not correct (to say) Islam is terrorism," he said, defending his decision not to name Islam when condemning the brutal murder.

"If I have to talk about Islamic violence I have to talk about Christian violence. Every day in the newspapers I see violence in Italy, someone kills his girlfriend, another kills his mother-in-law, and these are baptised Catholics."

Story continues below…

The church attack came just two weeks after Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel ploughed a 19-tonne truck into a massive crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the Riviera city of Nice, leaving 84 dead and injuring more than 300 people.

The repeat attacks in France have raised tough questions about security failures, but also about the foreign funding of many mosques.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday that authorities have shut down around 20 mosques and prayer halls considered to be preaching radical Islam since December.

"There is no place ... in France for those who call for and incite hatred in prayer halls or in mosques, and who don't respect certain republican principles, notably equality between men and women," the minister said.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available