Religious leaders in France unite for peace amidst unrest

Religious leaders in France

Religious leaders in France are uniting in response to the ongoing unrest. They are urging peace, dialogue, and calm. The Catholic Church issued a prayer for peace amidst the chaos.

Riots broke out following the fatal police shooting of Nahel M., a 17-year-old from North Africa, during a Nanterre traffic stop. The incident led to looting, attacks on public buildings, and violent mob behavior in multiple cities.

BBC reports that around 45,000 officers were deployed across the country. This was to respond to the escalating situation.

Over the past three nights, more than 150 individuals were arrested on Sunday night. This marks a decrease from over 700 arrests the previous night.

The authorities are still assessing the damage and casualty numbers.

Religious leaders expressed grief over the death and violence. They denounced violence while mourning the loss, stressing the need for peace.

Their statement expressed concern for the residents, families, and children affected by the unrest. Rioters have targeted schools, businesses, city halls, and transportation hubs.

Notable signatories

Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, president of the French Bishops’ Conference, and leaders of various religious communities in France signed the statement.

Other notable signatories include Chems-Eddine Hafiz, the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris; Grand Rabbi Haïm Korsia, chief rabbi of France; Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the French Islamic Council; Bishop Demetrios Ploumios, president of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of France; Pastor Christian Krieger, president of the Protestant Federation of France; and Antony Boussemart, president of the Buddhist Union of France.

In light of the attacks on law enforcement and authorities, the signatories emphasised the importance of building trust between different sections of society and the police.

They called upon politicians to work together responsibly to restore justice and peace.

The statement concluded with a strong appeal for believers to contribute to peace and the common good actively.

In addition to their joint statement, the French bishops have proposed a prayer for peace in the country.

This prayer has been made available to parishes and Catholic communities across France, further emphasising the commitment of the Church to seeking reconciliation and harmony during these troubled times.

The prayer reads in full in English translation:

We ask you, Lord, for the return of tranquillity and peace to our country.

We entrust Nahel to you and pray for his loved ones. May the spirit of light and peace accompany them.

We entrust to you the wounded of these nights of violence, including those whose homes and workplaces have been destroyed or damaged.

We pray, Lord, for those who work in law enforcement and public services, who are under great pressure and sometimes attacked.

Inspire us to promote dialogue and peace with believers of other Christian denominations and other religions, and with all our fellow citizens.

We ask you once again that our society, even beyond the current explosions, may clearly recognise the sources of violence and find ways to overcome them.


Catholic News Agency



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