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Religious leaders urge dialogue and calm amid unrest in France

Over the weekend, France’s bishops, in solidarity with other religious leaders, responded to the ongoing turmoil in the country by urging for peace, dialogue, and a restoration of tranquility. In addition, on July 1, officials of the Catholic Church issued a prayer for peace. The riots erupted following the tragic police shooting of a 17-year-old individual of North African descent named Nahel M. at a traffic stop in the Parisian suburb Nanterre. It resulted in several days of looting, assaults on public structures, and destructive acts of mob violence in various cities. Religious leaders in France, through a collective statement, conveyed their deep sadness regarding the loss of life and the outbreak of violence. Concurrently, they appealed for a restoration of peace in the affected areas.

National Catholic Register reports:

France’s bishops joined other religious leaders over the weekend in responding to the ongoing unrest in their country with a call for peace, dialogue and a return to calm.

Catholic Church officials also issued a prayer for peace on July 1.

The riots, sparked by the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old of North African origin named Nahel M. during a traffic stop in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, have led to days of looting, attacks on public buildings and destructive mob violence in several cities.

Some 45,000 officers were deployed across the country over the past three nights, according to the BBC. More than 150 people were arrested Sunday night, down from more than 700 the night before. The full extent of the destruction and the number of injured is still unknown.

In a joint statement, religious leaders in France expressed their sorrow over the death and violence. At the same time, they called for a return to peace. “We affirm with one voice that violence is never the right way,” the statement said, decrying attacks on schools, businesses, city halls and transportation, noting that the residents, families and children of these neighborhoods are the first to suffer.

The text was signed by Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, president of the French Bishops’ Conference.

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