Normandy church attack: Muslim community refuse to bury French priest killer Adel Kermiche

'We are not going to taint Islam with this person'

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The Independent Online

Muslims in the hometown of Adel Kermiche, one of the teenage attackers who slit the throat of an elderly priest in a church in France, have refused to bury him.

The 19-year-old, along with Abdel Malik Petitjean, also 19, took six people hostage at a church in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray before killing its 86-year-old priest, Father Jacques Hamel, during a morning mass at around 10am local time on Tuesday.

A nun who was in the church – identified as Sister Danielle – said the priest was forced to the ground before his throat was slit.

Both Kermiche and Petitjean were later shot dead by police.

Following the attack, Isis issued a claim of responsibility calling the pair of attackers “soldiers of the Islamic State”. Isis’ Amaq propaganda agency later released video footage of the French attackers pledging allegiance to the terror group.

Religious leaders in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray have refused to prepare or bury Kermiche’s body, saying they do not want to “taint” Islam by having any connection to the jihadist.

Mohammed Karabila, president of the local Muslim cultural association and imam at a local mosque, told French newspaper Le Parisien: “We’re not going to taint Islam with this person.

“We won’t participate in preparing the body or the burial.”

Fellow Muslims in the town, near Rouen in Normandy, supported the decision, Sky News reports.

Khalid El Amrani, a 25-year-old technician, said: “What this young man did is sinful; he is no longer part of our community.”

The mayor’s office will ultimately decide whether or not Kermiche will be buried in the town.

Family friend Jonathan Sacarabany said Kermiche grew up in a housing project in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray.

Mr Sacarabany said the jihadist was originally born in Algeria and had a sister who is a doctor in Rouen and a brother. Their mother is a professor.

Who is Adel Kermiche?

The French government has come under increasing criticism for failing to prevent atrocities, including the attack in Normandy.

Security services were tipped off that Petitjean was planning an attack but police were reportedly unable to identify him from photos and video footage showing him declaring allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.

He was already on country’s “fiche S” terror watchlist for attempting to travel to Syria in June but slipped through the net to re-enter France after being stopped by Turkish authorities.

Kermiche was also known to security services and was wearing an electronic surveillance tag while on bail as he awaited trial for membership of a terror organisation at the time.

The attack came less than a than a fortnight after the Nice attack, when a Tunisian man killed 84 people and injured 300 more when he ploughed a lorry into crowds celebrating Bastille Day.