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Jews take to the streets of Paris after the murder of Ilan Halimi 

In February 2007, a naked, emaciated, mutilated, charred and stabbed man is discovered near railway tracks in the Parisian suburb of Sainte Geneviève-des-Bois. He is taken to hospital where he is pronounced dead just before noon. Two days later, the victim is identified as Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jew who was abducted while working in a cell phone shop. He was held hostage and tortured for three weeks by a group calling itself the Gang of Barbarians in a housing estate in Bagneux, a suburb south of Paris. Within days, dozens of arrests are made. Gang leader Youssouf Fofana, who had fled to Ivory Coast, is quickly extradited and imprisoned. 

The kidnap, torture and murder of Ilan Halimi vividly illustrates French society's ills in the first decade of the 21st century. The unrepentant gang leader, Fofana, who called himself (in English) the "Brain of the Barbarians", is the French-born son of immigrants from the Ivory Coast. He is a small-time thug driven by Islamic Jew-hatred. Asocial and amoral, tyrannical and seductive, cruel and clumsy, he thrives on delusions of grandeur drawn from the jihadist playbook. Having botched dozens of other attempts at extortion, he finally succeeded in committing an atrocious murder. Since 27 April, his case has been heard behind closed doors.

The 27 defendants, accused of direct or indirect involvement in Halimi's kidnap and torture, are not all Muslim. But they all allegedly participated in a crime inspired by Islamist anti-Semitism. The police were clearly determined to return Ilan to his family safe and sound. However, they worked with an outdated protocol for dealing with ransom demands, refused to accept that the gang had anti-Semitic motives, never understood their psychology and as a
result failed miserably. 

It was virtually impossible to verify what little information was made available when the crime was discovered, because reporting restrictions were imposed during the long inquest. Nothing filtered out, except for the occasional story of Fofana's outrageous threats against judges, the courts and anyone else who angered him. He accused them all of being Jewish. Disingenuous ambiguity clouded the issues — was it really an anti-Semitic crime? Did it have anything to do with Islam? Today there is barely any coverage of the case because of the reporting restrictions. However, there is a Nouvel Observateur blog, run by Elsa Vigoreux, who publishes information from anonymous sources. 

The case is being heard in juvenile court because two of the defendants, including Yalda, an Iranian girl who was sent to lure Ilan, were just under 18 when the crime was committed. They could have waived their rights to a trial in camera. They didn't. They could have saved Ilan's life with an anonymous tip-off to the police. They didn't.

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Andrew Bostom
July 3rd, 2009
11:07 AM
Elsewhere in reports on the trial mentioned in the article Fofana is quoted as saying that he is right to hate Jews because it says so in the Koran, and/or he learned from the Koran to hate Jews. Below are links to but a sampling of the motifs of purely Islamic Jew hatred found in the Koran and the hadith, and the ugly acts of anti-Jewish hatred they have engendered across space and time by Muslims, past and present over a continuum of almost 14 centuries. These are—wait for it—facts, as opposed to ignorant, self-righteous and corrosive fantasies. Antisemitism in the Qur’an: Motifs and Historical Manifestations Antisemitism in the Hadith and Early Muslim Biographies of Muhammad: Motifs and Manifestations

Matt Juden
June 30th, 2009
4:06 PM
I didn't intend to implicitly deny what you've pointed out Raymond. It is nevertheless unproductive to ever call Jew-hatred in general or in a specific case 'Islamic' as this denies the legitimacy and profusion of expressions of Islam which do not involve such hatred. I remain open to the author of the piece defending their wording, of course.

Raymond in DC
June 29th, 2009
10:06 AM
While the author may have been inconsistent in choice of adjectives, his intent should have been clear. Matt Juden may be uncomfortable with the implications, but Andrew G Bostom's "The Legacy of Islamic AntiSemitism" shows that such events have a long history, indeed, going back to the very founding of this movement. It was, after all, during Mohammed's time that the targeting of Jews - and thus their despoliation, murder and exile from Arabia - was given theological foundation. The Koran itself is rife with Jew hatred, as it is of all "unbelievers" (infidels), but the particular animus toward the Jew is undeniable.

June 29th, 2009
12:06 AM
How could there be doubt that the police intended to fail to rescue Ilan? Multiple phone calls that weren't traced? Screams heard over the phone? Taunts by the torturers? Failure to understand the anti-semitic insanity that drives the murderers? How can a reader evade the conclusion that that the police either intentionally connived with the crime, or else are so incompetent and blase about the nature of Ilan's abductors as to amount to the same thing?

Matt Juden
June 28th, 2009
11:06 PM
'Islamic Jew-hatred' from the second paragraph contains an ill-chosen adjective. The writing in the next paragraph follows a useful convention when it mentions 'Islamist anti-Semitism'. It is, surely, essential to distinguish between sentiments which are 'Islamic' and those which are 'Islamist'. This makes it clear that the author is not talking about all expressions of Islam, just those which are Islamist. Probably, the author does not mean to suggest that the Jew-hatred in question is even 'Islamist' let alone 'Islamic', but rather that the Jew-hatred was part of Fofana's brand of Islam. 'Jew-hatred' and a supplementary sentence or 'Jew-hatred, part of his radical Islamism' would both be better. Whatever the author meant, it seems to me that a more precise expression was very necessary unless the author wished to suggested that it is reasonable to consider Jew-hatred Islamic. Is the adjective used in paragraph two an error, or do I mistunderstand and the author intended to signify that the Jew-hatred in question or Jew-hatred in general should be considered Islamic?

Bill Corr
June 28th, 2009
4:06 AM
Simple piggy indolence and incompetence and a quite understandable reluctance to tangle with the "youths" known to be willing to fire on the police with hunting rifles. THE SOLUTION: A minister of justice with guts, balls and backbone. C'est tous, mes amis!

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