PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - A man identified as an Algerian struck a police officer with a hammer outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris Tuesday morning.
Paris police are confirming one of their officers was struck in the head and is "slightly wounded." The French Interior Minister says the attacker yelled, "It's for Syria!" before being shot twice. The attacker is still alive and has been taken to the hospital.
Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe. Visitors and worshippers were told not to leave the cathedral. The U.S. Embassy has advised American tourists to "avoid the area and follow advice of authorities."
This is the first incident of its kind to take place in France following the May presidential elections in which centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron won against the anti-immigration candidiate Marine le Pen of the National Front. In December of 2016, the French Parliament voted to extend France's state of emergency status to beyond the year 2017.
This follows after a long string of attacks by Islamists in both France and the United Kingdom, with a spike during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Islam expert Robert Spencer in a recent television appearance expounded on the connection between Ramadan and violent jihad.
"It's all the same thing," he noted. "We have to remember that jihad means struggle."
And so the spiritual struggle within the soul to grow closer to Allah and to become more righteous is the same jihad as the struggle against unbelievers because Allah commands warfare against unbelievers in the Quran itself. And so Ramadan is quintessentially the month of jihad, the month of interior spiritual struggles but also, a month in which the war against unbelievers is redoubled in its ferocity, because it is in itself an act of devotion to Allah.
On June 4, Islamists in London drove a van into a group of pedestrians, killing seven. On May 22, Salman Abedi carried out a suicide bomb attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, killing 22 people, 10 of whom were minor children. On April 20, a man exited a car and fired a weapon at a police car in Paris, killing the police officer sitting in the car. On March 22, 52-year-old Khalid Masood drove a car into a group of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and attacked a police officer with a knife.
British Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May commented in response to the most recent attack on London Bridge this week, "We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change. ... Our country has made significant progress in disrupting plots and protecting the public. But it is time to say 'Enough is enough.'"
Notre Dame Cathedral dates back to the 12th century and is the site of several significant events in both the history of the Catholic Church and of France, including the beatification of St. Joan of Arc, with Pope St. Pius X present. The cathedral also houses some of the holiest relics in the Catholic Church, including the Crown of Thorns Our Lord wore during His Holy Passion.