French religious leaders worried over more Islamic attacks

As France reels from a series of horrific Islamic terror attacks, religious leaders of varying faiths convened and called on the French government to provide better security at places of worship.

Leaders of the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Buddhist communities in France convened on Wednesday and called on the government to boost security at houses of worship following the slaying of a catholic priest by Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists in Normandy on Tuesday.

The representative spoke after meeting French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace.

“We are urging the government to take the necessary measures to provide citizens protection and security,” a joint statement issued by France’s Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia and Joel Mergüi, president of the Consistoire, the organization that administers most synagogues and Jewish schools in France, read.

“We may not have the authority to say which forces should go where, but we’re not blind,” said Yael Hirschhorn, the chief rabbi’s adviser. “Attacks have been multiplying and, like every citizen, we believe there must be a way to do a better job on security.”

The CRIF, France’s Jewish umbrella group, stated on Tuesday the attack showed terrorists are diversifying their targets. “This attack is a new phase of terrorist expansion.”

The archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, praised the “harmonious relations” between France’s religions. “We must not let ourselves get pulled in to Daesh’s political games,” he said, using ISIS’ Arabic acronym. He said ISIS’ objective is “to set children of the same family against each other.”

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Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Great Mosque of Paris expressed “profound sorrow” on behalf of French Muslims at the attack, which he described as a “blasphemous sacrilege.”

ISIS crossed a new threshold Tuesday in its war against the West, as two of its followers targeted a church in Normandy, slitting the throat of Jacques Hamel, an elderly priest celebrating Mass and using hostages as human shields before being shot by police, in what was the first attack on a church in France.

The Jewish community in France has suffered several Islamic-motivated attacks, prompting a mass immigration of French Jews to Israel.

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News