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Sydney holds mass for slain French priest

AAP logoAAP 27/07/2016 By By Ethan James

More than 100 people have attended a mass in Sydney's St Mary's cathedral to honour the life of a priest slaughtered during a terrorist attack at a church in France.

Father Jacques Hernel, 85, had his throat slit by two Islamic State supporters who took worshippers hostage in the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray church, in Normandy, on Tuesday.

Archbishop Anthony Fraser told the early afternoon congregation at St Mary's that love should triumph over evil.

"We stand today with Father Jacques Hernel ... not for hateful ideology but for faith and love," he said.

"(The attackers) showed hatred for the church, priest and faithful even when they are demonstrably friends of Muslims."

Sydney worker Belinda Fitzgerald said she was not a regular church-goer but wanted to show her support.

"I don't usually come along, but wanted to show something, even small, for the French community," she told AAP.

The two knife-wielding attackers were shot dead by French police as they emerged from the church following attack in the riverside town in northern France.

One hostage was left seriously wounded.

Australia's Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed denounced the murder, describing it as a betrayal of the Islamic faith.

"ISIS is an evil organisation that has hijacked the religion of Islam for its own brutal and nihilistic goals," he said in a statement.

Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman, president of the Australian National Imams Council, urged people not to allow the brutality of ISIS to create disunity.

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