Europe

France's religious leaders united after church attack

  • French riot police guards the entrance of the church where an hostage taking left a priest dead in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, France, Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Two attackers invaded a church Tuesday during morning Mass near the Normandy city of Rouen, killing an 84-year-old priest by slitting his throat and taking hostages before being shot and killed by police, French officials said. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    French riot police guards the entrance of the church where an hostage taking left a priest dead in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, France, Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Two attackers invaded a church Tuesday during morning Mass near the Normandy city of Rouen, killing an 84-year-old priest by slitting his throat and taking hostages before being shot and killed by police, French officials said. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

  • French riot police guards the street to access the church where an hostage taking left a priest dead in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, France, Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Two attackers invaded a church Tuesday during morning Mass near the Normandy city of Rouen, killing an 84-year-old priest by slitting his throat and taking hostages before being shot and killed by police, French officials said. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    French riot police guards the street to access the church where an hostage taking left a priest dead in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, France, Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Two attackers invaded a church Tuesday during morning Mass near the Normandy city of Rouen, killing an 84-year-old priest by slitting his throat and taking hostages before being shot and killed by police, French officials said. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

  • Flowers, candles and messages are placed on the city hall entrance closed to the home of Father Jacques Hamel after he was killed during an attack in a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, France, Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Two attackers invaded a church Tuesday during morning Mass near the Normandy city of Rouen, killing an 84-year-old priest by slitting his throat and taking hostages before being shot and killed by police, French officials said. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    Flowers, candles and messages are placed on the city hall entrance closed to the home of Father Jacques Hamel after he was killed during an attack in a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, France, Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Two attackers invaded a church Tuesday during morning Mass near the Normandy city of Rouen, killing an 84-year-old priest by slitting his throat and taking hostages before being shot and killed by police, French officials said. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

France's main religious leaders have sent a message of unity and solidarity following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande after Islamic State extremists attacked a Catholic church and slit the throat of an elderly priest.

Hollande was to attend a defense council and a cabinet meeting later Wednesday.

Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, has called Catholics to "overcome hatred that comes in their heart" and not to "enter the game" of the Islamic State group that "wants to set children of the same family in opposition to each other".

Paris Imam Dalil Boubakeur said France's Muslims must push for a better training of Muslim clerics and called for a reform of French Muslim institutions to be on the agenda.