Jew’s Murder Causes Concern in France
By: Warner Todd Huston
In the middle of February, Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish Frenchman, was lured into the hands of kidnappers by a pretty female decoy. Assuming that he was rich because he was Jewish, Ilan was held for an initial ransom of over $500,000 — an amount later lowered to $6,000 when it became clear to the kidnappers that Ilan’s family was not as well off as their racist assumptions imagined. (See story at Killing in France Seen as ‘Wake-Up Call’ Washington Post)
But, this isn’t just a prosaic kidnapping for ransom story, unfortunately. For this gang that took Ilan is no disorganized group of common nere-do-wells roaming the French countryside. This gang, calling themselves â€œThe Barbariansâ€, is a well organized, murderous, and racist band of youths who are often identified with Islam and have recently been responsible for a lot of crime in France.
The ringleader, Youssef Fofana, 25, a French citizen of Ivorian origin, from Ivory Coast, has been apprehended by authorities and awaits trial.
While Ilan was held captive by these thugs he was mercilessly tortured. He was beaten, burned by cigarette butts, had fingers cut off, and was finally burned alive and left to die beside some rail tracks where he was discovered, barely alive, by police. Ilan died shortly after being discovered.
Over the last several years, anti-Jewish violence, property destruction, and racist language has been wildly increasing and French-Jews are worried more every month that it will spiral even higher. In a region that boasts over 5 million people of Muslim faith, the Jews number less than a million and the disparity in numbers does not bode well for the safety of Jewish citizens, especially in a country with deep underlying anti-Jewish sentiment, feelings that are even quite separate from her Muslim population, already pervasive. Worse still, the French government has, until recently, spent far more time denying that anti-Jewish crime exists than it has investigating and punishing it.
Jews in France are faced with a hostile and large minority in the Muslim populace of the country as well as a government that offers them no justice what-so-ever. And it is fast coming to a point where the French government wonâ€™t be able to serve justice for her Jewish victims of crime even if it wanted to.
France has seen a huge increase in crime, most of it from her disaffected Muslim populace. Since the turn of the century things have spiraled out of control.
-A sharp rise in rape of women (both Muslim as well as western women) by Muslim men
-The burning of dozens of Jewish business and Synagogues since 2000
-Murders of Jewish citizens
-Theft and strong-arm robberies way up
-Chronic unemployment of Muslim youths
-Rise in youth gang activity
-High rate of Muslim male youths dropping out of school
â€¦ and many other problems, not the least of which was the massive riots and car burnings carried out by Muslim youth last fall.
The Ilan case has brought these worries to the fore and it is possible that French officials are finally awakening to the danger Jews face just living in France. At Ilanâ€™s funeral, President Chirac and Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, made an appearance in a rare showing of support for a French-Jew. And, on Sunday the 26th of February, both Sarkozy and Chirac attended a rally that attracted over 10,000 French citizens in protest over the violence. (See the BBC report here)
But is it too little too late? It is widely assumed that an important reason France didnâ€™t support the war in Iraq is because of her fear of those 6 million Muslims within her borders — well, that and the fact that French officials were well bribed by Saddam Hussein. So, France has a vested interest in appeasing the Muslim population of her country, one proven to fits of destructive behavior that French security forces and police are utterly unable to curb.
It is doubtful that matters will get better anytime soon for either France or her Jews. The best one can do is to advise French-Jews to leave France for good. Can a Diaspora of French-Jews be too far off into the future? It shouldnâ€™t be if they know what is good for them. This clash of French Muslims and French western ideals is one that has been decades in the making and it will be decades still before any solution will be forthcoming.