French Muslims Show Solidarity with Catholics Over Notre-Dame Fire

Showing solidarity with the Catholics, French Muslims have participated in an inter-religious gathering to show support,  as France is still coming to terms with last April’s fire that damaged Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, International La Croix reported.

“We have come for the union between Muslims and Christians. We want peace in France. We too are with Our Lady,” said Zahra Mohamed Ali.

A massive blaze at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris devastated large parts of the 850-year-old church on April 15.

Around 400 firefighters were deployed to the scene but were delayed slightly by rush hour traffic.

Only two days after the fire, more than 750 millions of Euros have been pledged to rebuild the Notre Dame cathedral.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), an official interlocutor with the French state in the regulation of Muslim religious activities, were among those calling for donations.

The gathering was held July 6 at the request of Muslims wishing to show their support and was organized by the Christian movement Efesia as part of the “Together with Mary” interreligious group.

Among the group were Auxiliary Bishop Denis Jachiet of Paris representing Catholics, Anouar Kbibech, Vice-President of the French Council of Muslim Worship, representing the Sunni Muslims and Sheikh Mohamed Ali Mortada, the Shiite Muslims.

Zahra’s daughter, Malika, said she was “touched” and “sad” when she saw images of the burning cathedral.

“It’s a symbol. When people come to Paris there is the Eiffel Tower, it’s true, but Notre-Dame is even more important,” she said.

Gerard Testard, president of Efesia, said he was delighted to see “our Muslim friends come as if visiting a wounded person.”

After more than an hour of prayers, songs, readings from the Gospel according to Saint John and suras from the Qur’an about the “human gathering,” the assembly released two doves.

The Notre Dame Cathedral is part of the World Heritage site of “Paris, Banks of the Seine” inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991.

The site includes bridges, quays and the banks of the River Seine, along the historical part of its course, between the Sully and Iéna bridges, the Ile de la Cité and the Ile St Louis.