French Muslim jailed for 'anti-Semitism'

A 24 year-old French Muslim has been sent to jail for six months after being convicted of an "anti-Semitic" assault on a neighbouring Jewish family.

    France is giving exemplary punishments to those convicted of 'anti-Semitic' attacks

    Rabah Zihani threw a stone at members of the Alimi family as they left their home in October and shouted, "Dirty Jew, Hitler did not finish the job," lawyer David Metaxas said on Thursday. 

    "The Alimi have been through hell. For three years the four of them have been targetted with insults and swastikas on their door," said Metaxas. 

    The French government has called on judges to hand down exemplary punishments on those convicted of "anti-Semitic" attacks.

    Another investigation

    In a similar incident, French police are investigating whether a Muslim hardliner can be charged with racist incitement for comments that Jewish leaders have branded anti-Semitic, Justice Minister Dominique Perben said on Thursday. 

    Muhammad Latreche, who led a Paris protest last Saturday
    against a planned ban on Muslim headscarves in state schools, branded Israel a racist country and equated Zionism with
    apartheid in a speech to the marchers. 

    He would have to appear before a judge if his comments,
    tapes of which police are now reviewing, are considered to be an incitement against Israel and Jews in general. Latreche also criticised several French Jewish journalists in his speech. 

    "I am not going to let anything slip by, this man has to
    stop," Perben told Europe 1 radio. "Racism is an evil I do not
    want to see developing here." 

    'Racist behaviour'

    "I am not going to let anything slip by, this man has to stop. Racism is an evil I do not want to see developing here." 

    Dominique Perben

    Justice Minister 

    Perben said President Jacques Chirac had given him clear orders to be tough on racist behaviour "and I am applying them very firmly."

    The minister also said another inquiry into possibly anti-Semitic remarks, by the black comedian Dieudonne M'Bala who gave a Hitler salute on television while dressed as an orthodox Jew, would issue its conclusions very soon. 

    "These people have to know their behaviour is inadmissible, that they cannot say what they seem to have said," he stated. 

    'Anti-Zionist'

    The CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish organisations said
    Latreche's speech to about 5000 Muslims at the march was
    "violently anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist" and denied the reality of
    the genocide perpetrated against Jews by the Nazis. 

    Jewish groups have recently accused hardline Muslims in
    Europe of spreading a "new anti-Semitism" fueled by hatred of
    Israel rather than the racist nationalism of the far-right. 

    Latreche, a fiery orator from Strasbourg who was hardly known before the Paris march, heads a group of a few hundred members called the Party of French Muslims. He rejects charges of anti-Semitism but says he is a militant anti-Zionist. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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