“While violence in any form, carried out in any location, is abhorrent, we are particularly struck when attacks happen in sacred places, as sacred spaces offer refuge for the weary and serve as symbols of peace in a torn and broken world. May people of all faiths continue their call for peace as we intensify our prayers for an end to all forms of violence.”
In response to the attack, Bishop André Marceau of Nice said that all churches in Nice would be closed out of precaution. He noted that the “heinous terrorist act" occurred just weeks after a Paris school teacher was beheaded on Oct. 16. The teacher was killed reportedly after he had showed his students a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammed.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, Vatican prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, stated on Twitter in response to Thursday’s attack that “Islamism is a monstrous fanaticism which must be fought with force and determination.”
At least two other incidents were reported in France on Thursday, in Lyon and near Avignon. A man waving a handgun, who also made threats and shouted “Allahu Akbar,” was reportedly shot dead by police in Montfavet near Avignon. Another man armed with a long knife was reportedly arrested while trying to board a train in Lyon, according to Al Jazeera; the man had already been flagged as a threat by French intelligence.
Other U.S. leaders condemned Thursday’s attack in Nice. President Trump tweeted that “Our hearts are with the people of France.”
Rev. Johnnie Moore, a commissioner at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, tweeted on Thursday that “No one should ever fear walking into a place of worship, ANYWHERE of ANY FAITH!”
He tweeted a video of Muslims around the world mourning the attack, noting that “The 1st people I heard from were Muslim friends who find it painful & heretical when terrorists defame God by killing in His name.”
Ashley McGuire, senior fellow for The Catholic Association, said that attacks “are a terrifying reminder that radicalism remains a grave threat to global religious liberty.”