Vastavam web: Two teenagers who murdered an elderly French priest a year ago, after pledging loyalty to the Islamic State group, failed to sow religious division, President Emmanuel Macron told a memorial service today. Jacques Hamel, 85, was conducting mass in the northern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen, when the attackers burst in and slit his throat in front of five worshippers. At today’s memorial in Hamel’s small 16th-century church Macron hailed the solidarity shown by French Muslims after the attack and the failure of Catholics to be provoked.
“The two terrorists thought they would sow a desire among French Catholics for revenge. They failed,” he said.While assuring that the French state was “not out to combat any religion”, Macron added that every religion “has its part to play to ensure that hatred never wins.” Hundreds of people, including relatives of Hamel, two government ministers and representatives of the French Council for the Muslim Faith were packed in at Wednesday’s mass. Outside, where Macron unveiled a large stainless steel disk inscribed with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an overflow crowd followed the proceedings on a giant screen. Two people have been charged over their suspected links to the attackers. One is a cousin of Petitjean’s, whom investigators suspect knew of the plot to kill the priest