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Paris, 4 December 2023

Saturday 2 December morning saw murder alongside the Eiffel Tower, in the centre of Paris.

The attacker wielded a knife and a hammer, screaming “Allahu Akbar”, while killing a young German-Filipino tourist and injuring two elderly men, one French, the other British.

The perpetrator was already known to the police. Born in France to an Iranian couple in 1997, he had been identified as “unstable and highly influenceable” in 2016, when arrested for his apparent intent to carry out a terrorist attack. France’s Health Minister, Aurélien Rousseau, stated that, prior to Saturday’s deadly attack, the suspect “was being monitored to follow treatment for mental health issues”.

Interrogated after his arrest, the terrorist reportedly told the police that he “could no longer bear to see Muslims die, both in Afghanistan and in Palestine”.

There has been a steep rise in antisemitic incidents in France, since the 7 October terror attack on Israel and its legitimate response. One dramatic example is what happened on 13 October of this year, when a schoolteacher in Arras was knifed to death, others injured, by a Russian Muslim, again screaming “Allahu Akbar”.

Jihadi violence cannot be ascribed to Israel’s war against Hamas.

In fact, this knife assault happened exactly three years after the brutal beheading of Samuel Paty, a schoolteacher who was “guilty” of explaining free speech to a classroom in a school near Paris. The murderer was a Chechen-born Muslim who called for Jihad.

In July 2016, 85-year old Father Jacques Hamel, while celebrating mass in his Normandy church, was attacked by two affiliates of ISIS, who slit his throat in front of a handful of parishioners.

A November 22 article by Raymond Ibrahim of the Middle East Forum, entitled “Growing Jihad on Churches in France”, listed a shocking number of acts of vandalism, desecration, theft, intimidation and violence in 2023 alone, overwhelmingly involving Muslim youth, painting graffiti, shouting Islamist slogans or even committing arson or beating local priests.

According to a 2022 OSCE report, “France is among the top five European countries with the most recorded anti-Christian hate crimes. The other countries in the list are Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden.”

These countries have tried to downplay the relevance of another common denominator, that each has a significantly large Muslim population.

To find a remedy to France’s current situation, this particular aspect needs to be addressed seriously by governments with the advice of NGO experts in assessing the threat and providing tools for dialogue. The alternative would be extremists – left and right – gaining consensus and fostering a surge in polarization, with the “wild card” of Islamic Jihad looming over society.

Our Centre’s Rabbi Abraham Cooper, who is an expert in inter-religious dialogue, would warn us all by quoting our mentor, Simon Wiesenthal: “What begins with the Jews, never ends with them!”

AM YISRAEL HAI - May the People of Israel Survive
the Hostages!

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