Church leaders in France call for peace as the country mourns for three people who were killed at a Catholic cathedral in Nice, France on October 29.
In a Tweet, the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF) said, “Let us be peacemakers in a French society that lacks it. Pray for our fellow citizens, whatever their religion. Let us love our neighbors, as Jesus ordered us to do.” The council also shared Jesus’ words in the Book of Matthew, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Let us be peacemakers in a French society that lacks it. Pray for our fellow citizens, whatever their religion. Let us love our neighbors, as Jesus ordered us to do. —National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF)
The attack, one of three, took place in the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice. Authorities attributed the attack to Muslim extremists as the suspect reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great” before stabbing the three worshippers. Security has been stepped up throughout the country and police have closed down churches as threats against Christians continue, reports Canada-based Christian music radio station, CHVN Radio.
“Let us pray for our Nation, the police forces and unite against barbarism, for freedom of religion and expression,” tweeted Thierry Le Gall, a pastor and director of the CNEF Pastoral Service to Parliamentarians. “Evangelical Protestants wish to be peacemakers in France, actively contributing through their actions, their words and their prayers to a real and peaceful coexistence.”
In an interview with Religion News Service, Arnaud Bouthéon, co-founder of the Catholic group Mission Congress, said, “The Catholic community in France must not give in to sterile anger, but must also have the courage to name and denounce evil.” He challenged Christians to be “peacemakers, with temperance and courage.”
World leaders expressed their sympathies and support for France.
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the knife attack in Nice as he reaffirmed “the solidarity of the United Nations with the people and the Government of France.” Meantime, the High-Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) reminded the public that, such “outrageous crimes should not dissuade us from working together to promote mutual respect and peace globally, as one humanity.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter, “Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and the UK stands steadfastly with France against terror and intolerance.”
European Union leaders expressed solidarity with France. “All of Europe is in solidarity with France. We will remain united and determined in the face of barbarity and fanaticism,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted.
Muslim groups in France denounced the terror attack in Nice as they asked “all Muslims in France to cancel all festivities for the Mawlid,” a holiday in observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad that began on October 28.