BY STAFF REPORTER
FRENCH bishops have called for reflection on almost two weeks of violence that has shaken the country’s urban centres.
They spoke out last weekend after thousands of cars were set on fire and schools, gymnasiums, shops and churches attacked by disaffected Muslim migrants in cities across France.
Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard, president of the bishops’ conference, issued a statement to express the bishops’ concern over “acts of violence and destruction”.
“Groups of youths during the night confront the forces of law and arouse fear,” he said. “The media’s images of these events have a strong impact on public opinion and create mistrust among the different components of the population. We must ask ourselves what these whirlwinds of violence can engender in our large populations.
“Urbanisation, employment for young people, and the instability of family life are often mentioned. But we believe that repression and incitement to collective fear are not an answer to the degree of dramatic tensions of our society.” The bishops said that “schools, the different entities of formation, educators and social leaders must feel supported by us all”, adding that it was “vital to be open to these new generations, who often lack hope, a future of freedom, dignity and respect”.