Monday, September 15, 2008

Muslims attack Jews in France 

Muslim immigrants attack three Jewish teens in Paris

By Yair Ettinger, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service and DPA

Three Jewish teens were attacked by a group of Muslim African immigrants in Paris on Saturday evening, a French police spokeswoman said Sunday.

The Jewish teens, ages 17 and 18, who have been identified as Dan Nebet, Kevin Bitan and David Boaziz, are leaders of the Bnei Akiva youth group in Paris' 19th District.

Thiery Nebet, Dan's father, told Haaretz over the phone that according to what his son had said, as they were walking down the street, "Four or five Arabs of African origin started to throw walnuts at Kevin. When he went up to them to ask them why they did it, they surrounded him and knocked him down. Kevin and David moved in and very quickly more Arabs joined in and started to beat the three with their fists and with chains."

The Jewish teens were hospitalized, one with a broken nose and jaw and all three with bruises, and filed a police report after their release. Police opened an investigation and are looking for the Muslim teenagers allegedly responsible for the attacks.

According to the chairman of the Jewish Students Union in France, Raphael Haddad, barrages of stones were thrown at the three teens during the attack. Haddad also said the incident occured on Petit Street in the 19th District, not far from where a 17-yea-ar-old Jewish youth was attacked and seriously injured by immigrants on June 21.

The attack is one of a long series of racial attacks in Europe in general and in France in particular. France has Western Europe's largest population of both Jews and Muslims.

The assault was condemned by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and was described by Jewish organizations as an act of anti-Semitism. The Jewish Agency's envoy in Paris, Rafi Zaush, told Army Radio that attacks in the 19th District are common but most incidents are less violent and therefore not reported by the media.

The French ministerial committee to fight racism and anti-Semitism showed concern over the incidents in the 19th District and turned to the mayor, requesting he beef up police presence ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The French Ministry of the Interior confirmed that the attack was motivated by anti-Semitism, saying the incident ended with relatively little damage.

According to Thiery Nebet a large number of Jews live in the 19th District and, "The atmosphere here is difficult. Now I need to protect our sons so they will not talk a great deal, because that is what we were told by the community's security people. This time it was my son; it can be anyone. The Jews want to live in peace but it's impossible with the Arabs here. We go around with a skullcap and that bothers them, but we don't care. If we have to take off our skullcaps to live better, it's better to leave now."

Benjamin Touati, head of the French desk of World Bnei Akiva, said Sunday: "The situation is very worrisome. One hundred meters from the place of the attack is a Chabad school with 1800 female students."


Jewish teen brutally beaten in apparent anti-Semitic attack in Paris

By Reuters

A 17-year-old French Jew was attacked on Saturday night in Paris, an assault condemned by President Nicolas Sarkozy and said by Jewish organizations to be an act of anti-Semitism.

The young man, identified as Rudy Haddad by one Jewish organization, was attacked by youths of African origin, a police source said, and the National Agency of Vigilance Against Anti-emitism said he had been attacked with iron bars.

Police said five youths had been held for questioning, and one police source told Reuters the victim was suffering "serious neurological problems."

The Union of French Jewish Students said Haddad had been identified as Jewish because he was wearing a kippa (skullcap), and had suffered several broken ribs and a fractured skull and was in intensive care at a hospital in central Paris.

"The victim was wearing a kippa and was on his way back home when his attackers, after identifying him as Jewish, started to beat him," the union said.

The number of attackers was not known, varying from 6 or 7 to 30, depending on sources. Haddad's father told French radio RTL there were around 15 attackers.

Two police sources said the attack took place right after a skirmish between two groups of youths, one Jewish and the other of North African origin. They said it was unclear whether Haddad had taken part in the confrontation.

They said such skirmishes were a regular feature in the multi-confessional Buttes Chaumont neighbourhood in the 19th arrondissement of Paris.

The assault was immediately condemned by French President Nicola Sarkozy, who began a three-day visit to Israel on Sunday aimed at reinforcing his
image as an ally of the state.

"[Sarkozy] assures the victim and his family of his support and renews his total determination to fight all forms of racism and anti-Semitism," said a statement from Sarkozy's office.

Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie expressed her "profound emotion" and announced in a statement the opening of an investigation to determine the circumstances of the attack.

A 23-year-old French Jew, Ilan Halimi, was found naked, tortured and covered in burns near Paris on February 13, 2006, after being held captive for three weeks. He died on the way to the hospital.

The crime shocked France and raised fears of surging anti-Semitism among French Muslims.

In February of this year, another Jewish teenager was tortured in the same town in which Halimi was killed, in yet another anti-Semitic attack.

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