Monday, July 12, 2004

French Muslims attack mother and baby on Paris train; French in shock

Reuters Alertnet is reporting rising fear of anti-Semitism in France after suspected Muslims attacked a 23-year-old Christian women and her baby on a Paris train. Falsely believing she was Jewish because a newspaper she was reading listed an address in a rich Paris neighborhood, the attackers robbed her and daubed swastikas on her stomach. (There have been increasing hate crimes by non-Muslims as well in France, hence the fear.)

Clearly, this type of irrational fear and hatred, being preached by radical imams in Paris, puts everyone there at risk. The victim was not, in fact, Jewish -- her only "crime", if you will, was that she may (or may not!) have lived in a wealthy neighborhood.

Other blogs have been covering this story as well.

The article mentions French police asking for "new ideas ... to combat race hatred." I will point out that, due to centuries of both anti-Semitism and relatively large Jewish populations in Europe, the amount of racial intermixing (i.e., Europeans with Jewish blood in their veins) is probably much higher than anyone suspects, or has yet tried to document. In that light, the irrational Muslim belief that anyone white and wealthy is Jewish may not be so far from the truth. It's interesting....

Update 2004/07/13: Well, my readers read in the translation of Le Monde I posted in the comments earlier today, the hate crime turned out to be fabricated by the young woman and her dubious boyfriend. Now Reuters has picked up the story. Please see also the comment section for the original French and translated Le Monde story, which are much more fact-filled than the English-language Reuters summary. It seems, for example, that the young woman has been under psychiatric care for a number of years as a patholic liar, a fact that seems to have been lost in translation in the English-language accounts. The "papers" she claimed were used by bogus attackers was a luggage ID tag, mistranslated in English as "paper" (in the "identification papers" sense of national ID card).

The fabricated attack nevertheless made international news and created a sensation in France because hate crimes of this type have indeed been on the rise in France over the past few months. The story thus remains interesting for other reasons.

Other blogs covering this topic: (Bi-lingual French/English blog): English machine-translation of French portion (recommended)   French version
(See the comments for why a bi-lingual perspective on this can be useful.)