The French city of Lyon is helping to carve a more harmonious future for race relations in France. Alongside the words “God is great”, the latest gargoyle to appear on the Cathedral of St John is a likeness of its chief stonemason, Ahmed Benzizine.
Ahmed, a devout Muslim, says it is a message of “peace and tolerance.”
“What is religion, after all?” he asks. “We are all descended from Abraham whether Catholic, Muslim or Jew. There is one God for everyone and we are all of the same religion.”
The multi-faith gargoyle has prompted grimaces from some. An extreme-right campaign group has denounced the image of a Muslim adorning a Catholic cathedral. But the Diocese of Lyon says it embodies the inter-faith dialogue that is a part of the city’s culture.