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July 29, 2016

JCRC Expresses Condemnation and Sadness over Terror Attack Killing a Priest in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France

Also praises Pope Francis for his visit to Auschwitz today

Minneapolis, MN — Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement regarding Tuesday's heinous terror attack in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France:

"The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) extends its condolences and offers our most heartfelt prayers for Father Jacques Hamel, the priest killed during Mass in the terror attack in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France. We are united with France and Catholics around the world during this time of grief. Terror attacks targeting religious institutions are particularly heinous.

"This is the fourth major attack in France in the past 18 months and one of a spate of terror acts in the past several months. It is especially despicable that it took place within a house of worship.

"We stand with Pope Francis who expressed his 'pain and horror over this absurd violence with the most radical condemnation of all forms of hatred and prayers for those affected.'

"In this time of mourning with our Catholic brothers and sisters, we also note with deep appreciation the visit of Pope Francis to Auschwitz. This is a pilgrimage of reconciliation in this year in which we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate.

"These attacks are not only aimed at people, but at core beliefs that we share with the French Republic: liberty, equality, and fraternity. We know the pain of terror attacks and resolve needed to confront extremist ideologies. We stand with the French people and take strength from their bravery. We hope that our shared beliefs and solidarity can also be a source of strength for them at this difficult time.

"With an increase in terror attacks in France and around the world, we call on the international community to take decisive action against terrorists and increase the level of collaboration and vigilance of security forces in all countries vulnerable to such attacks."

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As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.