Wednesday, February 22, 2006

FRENCH POLICE ACCUSED OF COVERING UP ANTISEMITIC MOTIVES BEHIND MURDER

Worrying news from France - Jews claim police hid killers' motive to appease ghetto:
The torture and murder of a young Jewish man in Paris triggered outrage among Jewish leaders yesterday as the Government sought to prevent the affair from inflaming emotions in the Muslim-dominated housing estates of France.

Dominique de Villepin, the Prime Minister, and his ministers promised that justice would be done after the parents of Ilan Halimi, 23, who was held captive for three weeks on an immigrant estate, accused the police of playing down the anti-Semitic motives of his kidnappers.

Voicing the anger felt among the Jewish population, Radio Shalom, a station in Paris, said that M Halimi had “been made to pay for the (Danish) cartoons of Muhammad and Abu Ghraib”, the prison where US forces tortured Iraqi captives.

M Halimi, who worked in a telephone shop, died shortly after being found ten days ago naked and bound on a suburban roadside. Police denied any racial aspect in the kidnapping and ransom demands, but on Monday investigators added racial hatred to the kidnapping and murder charges that six men and a woman in police custody are facing.

The kidnappers are alleged to have referred to M Halimi’s Jewish background in their telephone and e-mail demands to the family for ransom, and one of the young torturers was reported by accomplices to have stubbed out a cigarette on M Halimi’s forehead while voicing his hatred for Jews.

...

Ruth Halimi said that her son might still be alive had the police not evaded the nature of his kidnapping as they were negotiating over ransom.

“We told the police that there had been at least three other attempted abductions of young Jews, but they persisted in considering the motives purely criminal because they are afraid of reviving a clash with the Muslims,” she said.
Remember Blunkett saying that the British police were slow to act over Hamza because they feared a "race crisis"? If what Ruth Halimi says is true, it's not just our police who have adopted the softly, softly approach. (Of course, in their defence, the French police may not be able to refute Ruth Talimi's allegations until the case has been settled in court - a French legal eagle ought to be able to answer this.)

It's a tricky one to weigh up in terms of what to tell the public. An attack on a Jewish person is not necessarily antisemitic and the allegation of a cigarette being stubbed out in the face of Ilan Halimi appears to have been made after the suspects' arrest.

But if the police knew of the attempted abductions of three other Jews it's appalling they didn't pursue the antisemitic angle of this case, even if they were afraid to mention it in public until they were absolutely certain, for fear of the estates once again going up in flames.

Remember the racist murder of Anthony Walker? The police didn't think twice about revealing the racist nature of this vicious attack. Despite roughly half of Britons believing that the UK is a racist society (make of that poll what you will), the police didn't seem to be too concerned about a possible backlash from racist bigots over the motives behind this attack.

It's a sad day for society when the police cannot highlight the antisemitic nature of a crime without worrying about possible repercussions.

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