A 37-year-old male identified only by his first name, Ahmed, was brought to a court in Chalon-sur-Saône accused of threatening to blow up a cathedral with a hand grenade.
On Saturday, the 37-year-old barged into local landmark St Vincent’s Cathedral of Chalon-sur-Saône and while intoxicated and carrying a bottle of alcohol he yelled: “It is the Quran that must be read!” He then said that he had a grenade and would blow up the church, local news website Info Chalon reports.
The court, which was presided by a tribunal of judges, saw Ahmed ask for a delay in the proceedings to mount a defence, rather than be judged on the day of the hearing.
‘Ahmed’ has a long history of criminality with 27 prior criminal convictions including three cases of death threats and seven convictions for theft.
When confronted with his prior criminal history, Ahmed told the court this week: “I was in a bad period where I was a little lost, I had a certain malaise.” The judge retorted: “It’s a period that has lasted.”
Father Thierry de Marsac, who heads the Roman Catholic parish of Saint Vincent, said that everyone in the cathedral at the time remained calm but he expressed he was concerned at the time, thinking of the brutal murder of Father Jacques Hamel who was killed by radical Islamic terrorists in 2016.
Hamel was later declared a martyr by Pope Francis who also condemned his radical Islamic killers as “Satanic”.
The court revealed that Ahmed lives with his mother in the department of Loire and was accompanying her on the day of the incident in Chalon-sur-Saône.
Attacks or disruptions of churches have become increasingly common in France in recent weeks including an incident in March in which two young females were arrested after trying to set a church on fire in Morbihan.
Later that month, a protest by far-left activists and migrants in Paris’s Saint-Denis Basilica, home of the tombs of French kings, disrupted Sunday services.
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