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?