Two Islamist men barged into the Carmelite Verdun monastery late last week during evening prayers in which they told the nuns to convert to Islam or go to hell.
The two men were described as being in their thirties and both sporting beards and are said to have prayed in Arabic while the nuns were conducting their evening prayers. The pair also signed the guestbook of the monastery writing “Allah u Ackbar” though there were no reports of any violence taking place L’Est Républicain reports.
Bishop of Verdun Jean-Paul Gabriel Émile Gusching said commented on the matter saying, “they prayed in Arabic during Vespers,” and added, “They presented themselves as harbingers and told them: if you do not convert, you will go to hell.’
On Sunday both men were arrested and later brought before Verdun prosecutor Guillaume Dupont who said, “They will be summoned to the verdict court of Verdun to be tried at a hearing on April 28, 2018, at 8:45 am for aggravated voluntary violence.”
Dupont said that the charge is related to psychological violence and if convicted the pair could see a 45,000 euro fine and the possibility of three years in prison.
Abdelkrim Aïtelkaid, Imam of Verdun, said that one of the men was a recent convert to Islam having only become a Muslim three or four months prior. He condemned the actions of the pair saying, “It is not normal. We are not going to violate the sacredness of a place of worship.”
The authorities were particularly diligent regarding the incident due to the fact that last year a priest in Normandy was killed by radical Islamic terrorists who barged into an early morning mass. The Islamists initially took Father Jacques Hamel hostage but later decided to slit his throat after delivering a sermon in Arabic from the pulpit of the church.
Islamisation has become an increasingly prominent topic in France with some Muslims, like those in Clichy, choosing to pray in the street to protest the government closing an illegally occupied building that they had used as a mosque.
Last week over a hundred French conservative politicians interrupted the street prayers by singing the French national anthem and getting into minor physical confrontations with the Muslim worshippers.