The rector of the Great Mosque of Paris called Monday on all French imams to lead the faithful in Friday prayers for the victims of the country’s worst-ever terror attacks.
“I appeal to imams to take part in a solemn prayer to show our compassion and share in the families’ sorrow,” rector Dalil Boubakeur told reporters.
He was speaking after a minute of silence was observed across France and Europe in honour of the 129 victims of the gun and suicide attacks that rocked Paris at the weekend.
Boubakeur voiced “horror” at the “unspeakable acts” which had targeted “absolutely innocent” Parisians.
“We, Muslims of France, can only insist on the need for national unity in opposing this misfortune which has afflicted us and which attacks indiscriminately,” he said.
“We are all victims of this barbarity,” he said, repeating a call made by religious and political leaders after a series of jihadist attacks in January for people not to tar all Muslims with the same brush of extremism.
The suicide bombers behind Friday’s attacks on the national stadium, a packed concert hall and bars and restaurants were “people who call themselves Muslims but who should, by rights, be called barbarians”, he said.
Boubakeur observed the midday minute of silence on the steps of the Great Mosque, together with a handful of worshippers.
Afterwards, they said a prayer before listening in silence to a rendition of the Marseillaise, the French national anthem.