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“France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a joint statement on Monday.

Like a smaller protest outside the French National Assembly in Paris a week ago, Sunday’s demonstration saw many people holding up a placard with the Arabic letter nun, or N, which was painted on the homes of Christians in Mosul earlier this month.

“Them today, us tomorrow,” some people chanted outside Notre Dame, while others declared, “We all are Nazareans,” using the Koranic word for Christians.

“France, country of human rights, where are you?” was yet another slogan heard on Sunday.

“It’s very important to say that it’s not a problem between Muslims, Jews or Christians,” explained Sister Nathalie Becquarts, from the French Bishops’ Conference, who was in the crowd. “It’s a problem between fanatics and people from every religion. We’re here to express our solidarity with all the people suffering in the Middle East.”

Sister Nathalie noted that on Monday, two French bishops would travel to Iraq to meet Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and other Christians. “We must tell them, ‘You are not alone; we want to give you our prayers. The Church is universal, and we all are brothers and sisters in Christ.”

At the end of the demonstration, protesters joined together in praying the Lord’s Prayer in French and Aramaic. Then many went inside the cathedral to attend a Mass for Christians in the Middle East.

At the Mass Paris Auxiliary Bishop Renauld Marie de Dinechin read a letter from Patriarch Sako to the Christians of Iraq. In an emotional moment at the end of Mass the Ave Maria was sung in Aramaic.




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