Islamist extremist attacks on Christians in France intensified in 2016, with the country experiencing a 38 percent rise in faith-related incidents.
This was revealed by the pressure group Observatoire de la Christianophobie, according to Breitbart News. The group revealed that "Christianophobic" attacks in France rose from 273 in 2015 to 376 in 2016, with majority of these incidents happening in December.
Many of the attacks took place in churches and other places of worship. One church had its wall vandalised by blasphemous graffiti. A Jesus Christ figure at a Catholic memorial in Fournes-en-Weppes was likewise attacked by the Islamist militants.
However, the group noted that the most notorious anti-Christian attack had to be the one against Fr. Jacques Hamel, who was killed by two young Islamists in the middle of mass at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray church.
Hamel reportedly shouted "Be gone, Satan!" as the men slit his throat. During Hamel's memorial service, Archbishop Dominique Lebrun cautioned those who might be tempted to carry the banner of Islamist extremism.
"You who are tormented by diabolical violence, you who are drawn to kill by a demonic, murderous madness, pray to God to free you from the devil's grip," he said. "We pray for you, we pray to Jesus who healed all those who were under the power of evil."
A nun named Sister Helene, who witnessed the attack, said Hamel shouted at ISIS fanatics Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Petitjean, both 19, to stop what they were doing. But they refused to listen, according to the Mirror. "It was then that one of them struck the first blow to his throat," she said. "Thinking I was going to die, I offered my life to God."
Thankfully, Sister Helene survived the attack, although one of the nuns sustained some injuries because of the attack. The police later gunned down the fleeing suspects outside the church.