Prague, Aug 10 (CTK) – About 80 Muslims from the Czech Republic and abroad met outside a Catholic church in Prague to protest against the growing violence in Europe and some of them symbolically attended a mass in the overcrowded Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord, closely watched by the media.
After the divine service, 200 people, including Muslims, condemned terrorism. At the end of the event, they formed a human chain.
Representatives of Muslims expressed solidarity with and sympathy for victims of terrorism, mainly French priest Jacques Hamel murdered by Islamist militants.
They called for stopping all forms of violence.
They said Islam emphasises the sacred value of human life.
The crimes of IS harm Muslims all over the world, they said.
Some Muslims carried banners reading “Terrorism is not religion” or “All under a single roof,” with a map of the Czech Republic below.
Several opponents of Islam appeared at the rally, wearing anti-Islam badges and shouting “We are at home here.”
Romana Cervenkova, from the Al Firdaus centre, who convoked the rally told CTK that Muslims have been a target of verbal attacks in the Czech Republic.
She said the Czechs do not follow foreign media to know what the situation in Europe is really like.
“I understand that the Czechs are scared. That is why we are here – to show them that we condemn terrorism,” Cervenkova said on behalf of the Muslims present.
Catholic priest Petr Benes, who served the mass, welcomed “both the church-goers and the friends, Muslims.”
He said people will always go against each other unless they stop building barriers.
He said Christianity cannot abandon its values such as love, understanding, tolerance and acceptance.
The server Echo24 said on Tuesday at first Muslims wanted to attend a divine service in the Saint Ludmila Church in Prague, but the parish representatives disagreed with this.
Organiser, protestant priest Mikulas Vymetal, also said he had called several churches in Prague, asking the priests to let the Muslims take part in the mass.
Vymetal said their reaction was negative.
The Prague archbishopric has said Catholic churches were open to all people of the goodwill. On Tuesday, it welcomed the Muslims’ readiness to denounce the crimes committed on behalf of their religion.