No Prison for Men Who Entered Convent Demanding Nuns Convert to Islam
Date of incident: March 28, 2018
Category: Social Hostility / Intolerance
Attack against: Faith
Area of case: Private
The two men who entered a Carmelite convent in November 2017 and demanded the nuns to convert to Islam or they would go to hell were released by a Verdun court on March 28th. The court, citing "diminished mental responsibility at the time of the incident" because the intruders had been suffering from "psychiatric disorders," freed the men after a trial.
The prosecutor argued for a 10-month suspended prison sentence for the men for "psychological violence" inflicted on the nuns.
"There is no link between your actions and terrorism. The terms and expressions used, while they had the effect of disturbing the sisters, are not specific to radical discourse nor were they intended to frighten," the president of the court told the defendants.
On November 10, 2017 the two men, aged 26 and 28, rang the doorbell of the Carmelite convent in northern France to "discuss religion." They talked about how Islam corrects the distortions of Christianity. During vespers, they prayed aloud, disturbing the nuns. "They presented themselves as divine messengers and told the sisters: if you do not convert, you will go to hell," said Bishop Gusching. Before leaving they wrote exhortations to conversion and "Allahu Akbar" in the guestbook.
During the hearing, some of the nuns testified about their fears during the incident, noting that in November French authorities had declared the threat of terrorist attacks to be at an unprecedented level. After the incident, a doctor prescribed medical leave from two to eight days for the nuns, in whom he found "perceptible to marked psychological impact" from the incident.
Photo: Marqués de la Force, CC BY-SA 3.0