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Slain French Priest Father Jacques Hamel Laid to Rest

  • VOA News

A photo of Father Jacques Hamel is on display during his funeral mass at the Rouen cathedral, Normandy, France, Aug. 2, 2016.

A photo of Father Jacques Hamel is on display during his funeral mass at the Rouen cathedral, Normandy, France, Aug. 2, 2016.

France laid to rest the 85-year-old priest, Father Jacques Hamel, who was killed by two Islamic extremist last week as he celebrated morning mass.

Hundreds of mourners gathered Tuesday in the cathedral of Rouen, in northern France, for the funeral mass held under tight security measures and presided over by Rouen's Archbishop Dominique Lebrun.

"As brutal and unfair and horrible as Jacques' death was, we have to look deep into our hearts to find the light," Lebrun said.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and other French officials attended the ceremony.

Hamel was killed by two teenagers who slit his throat and took others hostage. The suspects were shot dead by police in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, about 6.5 kilometers south of Rouen.

Religious officials sit during the funeral mass for Father Jacques Hamel at the Rouen cathedral, Normandy, France, Aug. 2, 2016.

Religious officials sit during the funeral mass for Father Jacques Hamel at the Rouen cathedral, Normandy, France, Aug. 2, 2016.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack through a video released by the militant group.

On Sunday, Muslims attended Catholic masses in places of worship across France and Italy in a show of solidarity days after Hamel's murder.

Archbishop Lebrun thanked the Muslim worshipers "in the name of all Christians," adding that "in this way you are affirming that you reject death and violence in the name of God."

Mourners gather in the rain near a giant screen outside the Cathedral in Rouen, France, during a funeral service in memory of slain French parish priest Father Jacques Hamel at the Cathedral in Rouen, France, Aug. 2, 2016.

Mourners gather in the rain near a giant screen outside the Cathedral in Rouen, France, during a funeral service in memory of slain French parish priest Father Jacques Hamel at the Cathedral in Rouen, France, Aug. 2, 2016.


A series of terrorist attacks in France, claimed by Islamic State, has raised questions about the foreign funding of many mosques, in addition to tough questions about security failures across the country.

Cazeneuve said Monday that since December, authorities have shut down nearly 20 mosques and prayer halls considered to be preaching radical Islam.

There is no place in France for those who “call for and incite hatred in prayer halls or in mosques," the minister said.

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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