Destinations Magazine

Loss of Faith

By Stizzard
Loss of faith

NO TARGET is too soft for killers inspired by Islamic State. On July 26th in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, a small town in Normandy, two knife-wielding terrorists entered a church. They took hostage the 85-year-old priest celebrating mass and the tiny congregation, two nuns and two parishioners. They slit Father Jacques Hamel’s throat as he knelt before the altar. Police shot and killed the terrorists; one other hostage was critically injured. The jihadists’ “barbaric attack on a church”, as the prime minister, Manuel Valls, put it, recast France’s conflict with terror as a primitive war of religion.

The murder added to the nation’s sense of siege. Less than two weeks had elapsed since the horror of Nice, when a man of Tunisian origin killed 84 people by driving a lorry through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day. The mood of defiant solidarity forged after last year’s Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan attacks in Paris is eroding.

Within a few hours of the latest attack, the president, François Hollande, appeared at the scene, flanked by his stolid interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, to express his dismay at the “desecration of…

The Economist: Europe

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