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Muslims to pray with Catholics in Prague, condemn terrorism

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Prague, Aug 9 (CTK) – Czech Muslims will condemn the recent terrorist attacks in Europe and express fears of violence at a demonstration in Prague at 18:00 on Wednesday and they will also join a Catholic mass in a church before it, organiser Romana Cervenkova, from the Al Firdaus centre, told CTK on Tuesday.

The Muslims will silently attend a mass in the Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord in Jiriho z Podebrad Square, followed by speeches delivered in the square. They also want to lay candles and flowers at the church and symbolically hold hands in a circle around it, Cervenkova added.

Cervenkova said she expected some 200 Muslims to attend the event.

A public statement by representatives of the Prague Muslim Community, the General Association of Muslim Students and the Al Firdaus centre will be read at the demonstration.

The Echo24 server has written on Tuesday that the Muslims originally wanted to attend a mass in the St Ludmila Church in Miru Square, but the parish disagreed with it.

A local priest told the server that their request would have to be officially approved by the archbishopric under which the parish came.

Cervenkova confirmed to CTK that the Muslims had been rejected. They will not hold their event in this square since the Unity of the Brethren is to have pre-paid stands there on the same day, she added.

In reaction to it, the Prague Archbishopric told CTK that Catholic churches are open to all people of good will.

But the archbishopric pointed out that though Muslims can be in a church during a mass, a joint divine service of Muslims and Christians would not be possible.

The Muslims will attend a Catholic mass in the other church in Prague calmly not to disturb it.

“The old Christian order allowing only baptised Catholics to enter the church is no longer valid. It means that we are not to prevent anyone who wants to come in good will from entering the church,” said priest Jan Houkal, from the church.

The Prague 3 authority has permitted the Muslim event in the square, he added.

Houkal praised the Muslims’ effort to distance themselves from violence, express solidarity with Christians and strictly reject the terrorist attacks committed by Islamic State.

Along with representatives of the Muslim community, Catholic vicar Petr Benes, who will celebrate the mass, will speak up at the meeting.

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