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Bishops ask all sides for calm.

PARIS -- While riots flared throughout France, the French bishops appealed for restraint on the part of the rioters and those who work to quell the violence. Their Nov. 5 statement noted that "recent urbanization, employment difficulties facing the young [and] instability in the family are often cited" as factors for unrest among immigrant groups. "But we believe repression and incitement to collective fear are not a response to this elevation of dramatic tensions in our society," they said.

The riots reportedly began after the accidental deaths of two teenagers fleeing a police ID check. At press time the rioting had spanned 13 nights and the government had declared a state of emergency in an attempt to end the destruction.

The Union des Organisations Islamiques de France issued a fatwa condemning the riots. The French bishops said they wanted to highlight "all the work being done daily by associations and institutions to create bonds of solidarity for a fraternal common existence." These institutions and their personnel "all should feel they have our total support," the bishops said.

Two Catholic churches were firebombed--at Lens and Lievin in northern France--while a parish rectory was set alight in the southern town of Sete.
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Title Annotation:French bishops appealed for restraint on the part of the rioters
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Nov 18, 2005
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