In response to the murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel in France on July 26 by two men claiming allegiance to ISIS, Muslims in France and other countries, including the U.S., reached out to Catholics today to show solidarity by attending Mass.
I was deeply moved that three Muslims – Imam Suhaib Webb, Maggie Siddiqi, and Sameer Siddiqi – came to Mass in Washington, DC today with Dr. Paul Heck and me at our parish, the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. They came because they, as Muslims, wanted to show their solidarity with Catholics after the murder of Fr. Hamel while he was saying Mass.
Neither Paul Heck nor I had ever met these Muslims before.
A few days ago Fr. Matthew Schneider, LC, tweeted, “We can’t show ISIS we’re afraid. Let’s all go to a Catholic Mass this Sunday to show solidarity since they killed a priest. #IAmJacquesHamel.” When I saw on Twitter that Imam Suhaib Webb had responded, “Fr. I will be there,” I invited Imam Webb to come to Mass with me. And come he did, plus Maggie and Sameer Siddiqui came too after hearing Imam Webb’s July 29 Friday sermon encouraging Washington, DC Muslims to go to Mass this Sunday as a show of solidarity.
They accepted an invitation from a stranger. They all came to say, “We stand with you. We care.” Strangers reaching out, strangers meeting, strangers supporting each other across differences of faith. In this way we bear witness to ISIS and to the world that love is stronger than hate. Fr. Schneider is right: “We can’t show ISIS we’re afraid.” Stronger together, we won’t.