Hundreds of Muslims have gathered near the Grand Mosque in Paris to condemn the execution of the French tourist, Herve Gourdel, by Islamic State-linked jihadists and the rise of Islamophobia caused by it.
The demonstrators were holding up placards, reading “”Tribute to Herve Gourdel” and “God is merciful” as well as signs with NotInMyName hastag.
The crowd chanted “Islam for peace,” with French officials and representatives from the Parisian Arab community present at the event.
“We French Muslims say stop to barbarism, stop to terrorism,” Dalil Boubakeur, head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, said during the rally.
He called Friday’s demonstration a “vibrant expression of our desire for national unity and of our unwavering will to live together”.
“Islam is a religion of peace… orders respect for life “, Boubakeur is cited as saying by Channel NewsAsia website.
Muslim protesters spoke of the suffering that has been inflicted on families by the Islamic State, but also about their fear of leaving their homes due to a rise in Islamophobia.
“I’ve lost my whole my family. It’s obscurantism. My two brothers, my father, my mother, whenever I hear that someone has been murdered I lose my voice. I’m sick! I can’t anymore. I have seen how he has been slain. I was sick,” a woman in the crowd told RT’s Ruptly video agency.
Gourdel was beheaded by an Algerian group, Jund al-Khalifa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), on Wednesday.
The 55-year-old mountaineering guide was abducted in the Kabylie region of northeast Algeria while hiking with two friends Sunday.
The Frenchman’s kidnapping occurred after Islamic State called on its supporters to attack citizens from Western countries joining the US-led coalition against the jihadist movement.
Gourdel became fourth Westerner to be executed by IS and its followers as they previously beheaded two American journalists and a British aid worker.
The #NotInMyName campaign on social media was initially launched by UK charity Active Change Foundation (ACF), following the murder of British aid worker David Haines.
It’s aimed at denouncing the Islamic State and reminding people worldwide that the terrorist organization doesn’t represent Islam as a whole.
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