Statement by the Amitié Judéo-Chrétienne de France on the Murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel

The ICCJ Executive Board wishes to associate itself with the following statement of its French national member organization, the Amitié Judéo-Chrétienne de France. We especially grieve for the loss of a leader committed to interreligious relations and join with the AJCF in declaring that hatred will not have the last word.

Statement by the Amitié Judéo-Chrétienne de France
(Author: Jacqueline Cuche, President of the AJCF)

For the first time in France, Christians are murdered because of their faith, thereby joining the plight of their fellow Christians in the East (and how can we fail to recall the martyrs of Algeria on the 20th anniversary of the murder of the Thibérine monks and the bishop of Oran, Pierre Claverie?).

Many Jewish friends, who have known for a long time the cost of being Jewish, have sent the Christian members of the AJCF messages of sympathy that have been a balm for them.

How can we remain silent?

A priest is brutally murdered in his church while celebrating Mass. That this act is committed by men daring to invoke God makes it doubly sacrilegious. True believers -- Jews, Christians, Muslims -- mourn the death of a Servant of God because they know God's love and mercy. All people of peace and goodwill will mourn a man of dialogue and brotherhood.

The AJCF expresses its compassion and solidarity with the Catholic community that has been so wounded, together with all Christians injured by the destructive hatred to which they have been subjected. The aim of the Jihadists is well known: to ruin by means of these killings all the efforts for dialogue and mutual respect between Muslims and Christians that have been undertaken in so many places in France. St Etienne du Rouvray was precisely such a place and Fr. Hamel and the nuns around him were fervent builders of Islamic-Christian dialogue locally.

The AJCF, which was founded to combat hatred and contempt, and promote mutual respect and reconciliation, forcefully reiterates its determination to stay true to its mission. No, hatred will not have the last word! Together, Jews and Christians side by side with Muslims and people of good will, will continue to fight and to promote dialogue and friendship, reaffirming that our God is love and mercy for all humanity.

(Translation by Liliane Apotheker and Philip A. Cunningham)

The French original can be found here.