Paris – Finally good news from Algeria: for the first time in the history of the Muslim world in its relations with Christianity, 19 religious were beatified on the afternoon of December 8. The official ceremony took place at the sanctuary of Notre-Dame de Santa Cruz, on the heights of Oran. The religious were all murdered by Islam in the dark decade of Algerian history, the 1990s that left more than 200 thousand victims, including 114 imams, in its’ wake.
The 19 religious were proclaimed blessed in front of a crowd of about 2 thousand people, including families of martyrs, members of religious congregations, faithful of the small Church of Algeria and some imams and Muslim faithful.
As an Algerian Muslim, I consider these religious together with the murdered Imams and other Algerians as martyrs. They are religious who have sacrificed their lives for God, for peace and love. But not only: for me, they have also shown their attachment to this country and to the Algerian people and have come to bring us their help while the Islamists express hatred towards these brothers and sisters. Although they had the chance to leave the Algerian territory, they remained there and witnessed their bonds to this land and to this wounded people, at the time of the civil war unleashed by the Islamists.
Without any doubt, these religious were murdered because of their faith because Islamism sees in them unbelievers that we must destroy as a way of getting close to their blood thirsty God.
I must salute the Algerian authorities who have stood up to this, authorizing this kind of ceremony for the first time in the history of the Muslim world. A ceremony that goes beyond beatification: it is an underscoring of their life given to God and Algeria; a sincere message of fraternity, of dialogue, of peace, of tolerance that goes beyond the murder of the blessed.
As a Muslim, I am deeply amazed by this testimony, by their life given in the name of the love of God that can also gather those who are not of the same religion.
What makes a heart beautiful is forgiveness, it is a fraternity that is lived to the end. The Algerian authorities have done well: also for us [this beatification] is a form of posthumous rehabilitation, to raise the image of Algeria, blurred by the wild Islamist hordes, soaked by a retrograde religious fanaticism. My wish is that after this beatification, the Algerian authorities will proceed with the construction of a church in the name of the 19 martyrs. This will mean that the country will have found peace, having suffered so much because of Islamist integralism.