Sunday, September 7, 2008

Paris, France - Paris Mayor Asked To Protect Jews In Light Of Anti-Semitic Attack

Paris, France -- After an Interior Ministry statement confirmed that yesterday’s attack against three Jewish teenagers wearing Yarmulkas is being treated as an act of anti-Semitism, a local watchgroup has asked the city’s mayor to increase police presence in the area.

While police initially resisted classifying the attack as a bias crime, a spokesman for Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie issued a statement Sunday saying she “strongly condemned the anti-Semitic violence.” The statement confirmed the anti-Semitic character of this attack. “We have enough elements to confirm it,” a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said.

A representative from Bnei Akiva and the Jewish Agency described the anti-Semitic assault: "The attackers threw chestnuts at the boys. One of the boys asked: 'Why are you attacking us?' The attackers answered with anti-Semitic shouts in Arabic. The three attackers then brought a group of 10 to 12 youths with brass knuckles who attacked the Jewish youths until the police came. The attackers fled."

Following the attack, the Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, an organization that monitors anti-Semitic incidents in France, urged Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë to reinforce police in the area to protect the city’s Jews. The group stressed the growing feeling of insecurity among Jews living in the district's Buttes de Chaumont area.

The three boys were assaulted in a street in northern Paris where another Jewish teenager was beaten in June. France has Western Europe's largest population of both Jews and Muslims, and the country faced a surge in anti-Semitic crime starting in 2000 due to increased Middle East tensions.

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