A poster distributed to French churches has reminded parishioners the threat of Christianophobic terrorist attacks remains real, and responsibility sits on their shoulders to remain vigilant.
Coming just months after an attempted terrorist attack on a Paris church by Muslim fanatics with machine guns and fake police uniforms, the ministry of the interior advice reproduced in poster form gives helpful advice.
Suggesting what measures can be taken to increase the security of French churches, it states churchgoers should not leave their bags in the stalls during communion, and keep an eye out for “abandoned objects”, in other words bombs.
The most remarkable advice however, is to keep an eye out for “clothing not appropriate to the occasion” – essentially asking churchgoers to watch out for people who are obviously not Christian in church, reports TheLocal.fr.
The advice comes in the stead of increased security at church and Christian sites in France, which includes pilgrimage site Lourdes and some of the worlds most visited cathedrals. Following attacks on the Jewish community, including the Charlie Hebdo-Hyper Cacher siege in January, the French army was deployed to protect Synagogues and Mosques from attack, but not churches.
This only changed after the April terror plot, which was only foiled by accident after the hapless Islamist shot himself with an assault rifle. He had already murdered one French woman in the process of hijacking her car but was stopped before he could do more.
Despite the protection, the estimated 10,000 soldiers deployed to the streets of France on a permanent basis are both thinly spread and suffering from faitigue – and protection for Christian sites takes second priority. Instead of erecting fences, gates, and security itself the French Conference of Bishops instead took the decision to issue the vigilance guidance.
“We are not going to search everyone who looks a bit weird”, said a spokesman for Lourdes.