French priest killed by terrorists

I’m not a big fan of the kind of work priests do, but they’re human, some are good people, and they certainly don’t deserve to have their throats cut. Sadly, ISIS feels otherwise. As reported by both the BBC News and the the New York Times , Jacques Hamel, an 85-year-old priest in St.-Étienne du Rouvrey, a suburb of Rouen, was taken hostage this morning along with four other people while serving mass. The priest was stabbed to death (one report says his throat was cut) and two other people were injured, one critically. The assailants, identified as “IS soldiers,” were both killed. As the Times reports:

The attackers entered the church wielding knives, according to people in the town. “They jumped on him while he was celebrating Mass,” said the Rev.Alexandre Joly, a priest from a nearby parish, who described Father Hamel as “very kind” and “someone whom no one could hate.” Father Joly added: “It’s an astonishingly strong symbol. It’s the moment when the priest is giving this act of love, that he is killed. It’s incomprehensible. They jumped on him with their knives.”

Every time I hear of this kind of Islamist terrorism, I wonder how those who blame it all on the West’s colonialism will manage to fit this into their narrative. When did Father Hamel ever colonize the Middle East? What influence did he have on French foreign policy, and did he even approve of the Iraq invasion?


Father Hamel (from BBC site, credit AFP)


  1. GM
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    It’s becoming an everyday thing at this point.

  2. $G
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Horrible. This stuff cannot continue. As for the “colonialist” argument —

    Maybe one day we’ll start seeing “We are not all colonialists” articles in the same way we see “Not all Muslims are violent” pieces that get applause and confetti thrown at them.

    Not every Muslim is guilty (obviously), but all “Westerners” are fair game because of colonialism? Or at least that’s the callous implication of the argument. The double standard is just out of hand. These standards are so unfairly apart that they might as well be placed on separate hemispheres.

    • Cindy
      Posted July 26, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink


      Yep, everything we have here in the west is because of colonialism. EVERYTHING. And that makes every white westerner a ‘white supremacist shitlord’

      This is regressive dogma at this point. A young Muslim woman told Douglas Murray that the west *owed* Muslims anything they demand, because of colonialism. He replied that if the West owes Muslims reparations, then Muslims owe the rest of the world reparations for all of the colonising and bloodshed that they have inflicted on other peoples.

      • somer
        Posted July 26, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        A La Indian History, Eastern European History, or Russian history or anything by Bat Ye’or or
        The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain by Dario Fernandez-Morera

      • somer
        Posted July 26, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        … and black slave trade in North Africa before the Europeans got there
        …. and millions of slaves in plantations in Eastern Africa and parts of North Africa in the 19th C after the western powers banned slavery
        … and 300 years of Western white slave taking by the Barbary pirates not to mention ongoing trade taking of Russians, Circassians, pressing Balkans boys into lifetime Janissary service etc.
        Or the astonishingly Muslim centric nature of Quran and their law books that some people have this amazing capacity to misunderstand forget or misrepresent e.g. (guidance of the Traveller, Hidaya guide to the Islamic Laws, Quran)

      • Posted July 26, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        “He replied that if the West owes Muslims reparations, then Muslims owe the rest of the world reparations for all of the colonising and bloodshed that they have inflicted on other peoples.”

        What was her reply to that takedown?

      • Geoffrey Howe
        Posted July 26, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        When I say I believe that all people were created equally, I include the notion that we’re all equally capable of being douchebags.

  3. Kevin
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    “It’s incomprehensible.” Good grief. This is the problem. From a secular standpoint, religion provides all the justification it needs for these actions.

    It’s like a fiction novel. If you are secular you have the ability to stand outside and understand the writing for what it is: the rules are set up, the sides are chosen, the tragedy unfolds. If you are religious, it’s as if you are stuck in the novel with no idea why things are happening…a puppet to the whims of others.

    • Redlivingblue
      Posted July 26, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Agree. Love the analogy Sam Harris made about people shooting at each other while shouting Capulet or Montague. Hard to murder when you realize that it is just literature, not devine dictation…

  4. Posted July 26, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Upsetting and sad. How does killing a gentle 85 year old priest further the goals of ISIS? It is difficult to fight an irrational enemy.

    • Posted July 26, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately, they seem fairly rational. They are winning.

      • Achrachno
        Posted July 26, 2016 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

        No, they’re (ISIL) losing rather badly and within a few years they’ll probably be gone.

        They’ve lost a lot of ground in both Syria & Iraq. Recruitment is down and their financing is faltering. Besides, suicide attacks, on which they’re increasingly relying, have always been a sign of a losing cause.

        They panicked everyone with their initial lightning attacks and their gruesome treatment of captives, but now the neighbors have settled down and are methodically grinding them away. Don’t support them by making them seem stronger than they are.

  5. Posted July 26, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    hmmm and where was any of these purported gods in this stupidity?

    • Posted July 26, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Apparently, “their” g*d got the upper hand over “our” g*d.
      I recently saw in a museum the marble heads of a man and a woman with smashed faces. The explanation: the heads represented Zeus and Hera, and Christian enforcers smashed them to destroy the pagan idols and, more importantly, to prove that you can abuse pagan deities as much as you want and nothing will happen.
      Now, it is the turn of Christianity.

      • Helen Hollis
        Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:10 am | Permalink

        What is your g*d that did not have the upper hand?

        • Posted July 28, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

          Not “my” g*d personally, the traditional g*d of that country that happened to be the victim’s g*d.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Yes, Ben Affleck, Huff post and all the others, tell us how you square this one? Or maybe all the other thousands of muslims killed by their own. Explain your ridiculous reasoning why this religion is all good.

  7. chris moffatt
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    The whole point of the apparent randomness of terrorist attacks is that no-one feels safe – hopefully leading to a situation where a terrified population will pressure its government to take some action or stop some action (such as stopping bombing daesh/IS) so the attacks will cease. As well as the facts that the koran tells them to kill infidels and that they seem to enjoy murdering people.

  8. jeffery
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I know I may ruffle some feathers in saying this, and I know that we are determined in our actions, but the current state of our understanding of the human mind is not sufficient to guarantee a “cure” for people who base violent actions on this kind of thinking.

    In order to protect society, there should be a legal point at which a person, in light of their actions, loses the “privilege” of being considered a “human being”, along with any considerations thereof: at that point, they would be termed, “problem animals”, and it should be permissible for anyone, anywhere, to use any means necessary to kill them. No torture would be allowed, as this would come under the heading of “animal cruelty”.

    The only alternative is to expand our already over-populated prison system and “warehouse” these people for the rest of our lives, at our own expense; there’s about as much chance of “rehabilitating” the members of ISIS, Boko Harum, Hamas, etc. as there is of “reforming” a pedophile….

    • Posted July 26, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      I am with you, but I think this will have little effect, because they do not put much value on their own lives. The two “heroes” who killed the old priest were killed themselves, but more attacks are sure to follow. They are happy to assist in the destruction of our world and to get their 72 virgins.
      I think it is the dominance of Islam that should be attacked above all.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 27, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      In order to protect society, there should be a legal point at which a person, in light of their actions, loses the “privilege” of being considered a “human being”,

      It’s a popular solution which has been tried (unsuccessfully) on many occasions. The “legal point” being generally something no less arbitrary than “you disagree with me”.
      The security that it brings (illusory and temporary) vastly outweighs the trivial concerns of arbitrary application, e.g. by people with bigger guns than those who agree with you, and who also disagree with you.
      Of course, once the One True Perfect Person has spoken about what is “right” (in all circumstances, without variation), all will acknowledge his rightness and the problem will go away.
      The resemblance between your “cunning plan” and almost every religion I’ve head of is … remarkable considering that the ideas have nothing else in common. Unless I’m missing something.

  9. Posted July 26, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    The religion of peace, and if you don’t believe it you will be deceased.

  10. Stephen
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Any deranged psycho has now an easy way of feeling he belongs to something: kill as many innocent people you can. Of course for them the victims are not innocent since they enjoy living in a secular society. When you hate so much and you believe god’s on your side, it’s a perfect mix for absolute, senseless violence.

    • GM
      Posted July 26, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      There are two main kinds of mass killings — the Islamist ones on one hand, and then the ones done by people who feel that they have been completely left out of and rejected by society and that they have nothing to lose.

      I wouldn’t necessarily call either of these groups “deranged psychos”. The word “psycho” implies some sort of insanity, but these are in fact quite rational actions if you place them in their proper context.

      What the Muslims are doing is very logical — if you truly believe that by sacrificing your own life to kill a dozen infidels, you will achieve eternal life in heaven, then killing a dozen infidels is not only perfectly reasonable but exactly the kind of thing you have to do. What is the significance of your current life compared to the eternity after that?

      The non-Islamist mass killings also have a certain logic behind them — humans tend to seek fame because fame correlates with social status and social status has historically correlated with maximization of inclusive fitness (thus our behavior is oriented towards elevating our social status). If you are living in an atomized disintegrating society, in which the traditional mechanism providing social cohesion and support of the individual on the local level have broken down, and that has left you with no means to achieve even moderate social status, then going on a rampage is in fact quite logical. You’ve lost the evolutionary race anyway, at you least you might achieve some fame. People will be selling Charles Manson t-shirts for a long time into the future after all.

      The real problem here is why society produces so many people who feel they have nothing to lose and no purpose to their existence. And I do think that it has been producing an increasing number of them in recent decades and will be producing even more in the future.

      • somer
        Posted July 26, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        religious brainwashing helps – and the tension between liberal values and medieval ones

  11. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    This latest atrocities and all similar ones can be understood as supporting the ISIS aim of fomenting a massacre of large numbers of randomly chosen for ease of finding them Muslims all over Europe and the UK. Such a massacre will create thousands, maybe millions more recruits around the world for ISIS and hasten their much desired final battle which is supposed by their prophecies to herald their version of the Christian Fundamentalist End Times when all the virtuous Islamic martyrs will receive their promised afterlife of eternal bliss kissing Allah and Mohammed’s ass and fucking eternally regenerated virgins. If European and UK governments continue the policy of pretending that Islam is no different than other religions and is a religion of peace and as a result don’t enforce Europe’s rather draconian hate speech laws against Imams and Mullahs with the same zeal as they enforce them against anti-Muslim hate speech, such a massacre will become inevitable.

  12. Paul S
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    A bully’s frustration. ISIS needs a holy war, but no one is willing to play. Instead of giving them the war they crave, much of the world looks on with disappointment and pity as Islam has progressed so little.

    • Posted July 26, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I think they may want war, but they are also happy with the fairly peaceful conquest that they are enjoying.
      When you are trying to live your life peacefully in your own country and your people get bombed, shot and stabbed every other day, I think it is little comfort that you are not giving the enemy its holy war. Perhaps we should.

      • Helen Hollis
        Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:22 am | Permalink

        who is your ememy?

  13. somer
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    We don’t need war but we do need to wake up culturally to stop pandering to hardline anti liberal ideology .
    The British government has just allowed in and Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury) has just welcomed two hate preachers from Pakistan who led praise for Mumtaz Qadri . The pair are doing a 7 week mosque tour of Britain. Both are being criticised but it is after the fact

  14. Pinto Bean
    Posted July 28, 2016 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Worth reading if you want to understand why ISIS would kill a priest:

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