France reports 27% increase in anti-Semitic acts
PARIS (AP) — Anti-Semitic acts increased in France last year by 27%, acts against Muslims inched higher while anti-Christian acts remained stable but highest of all, France’s interior minister said Sunday, denouncing the situation as intolerable.
On top of that, acts described as bearing a racist and xenophobic character, mostly threats, more than doubled between 2018 and 2019 — increasing from 496 to 1,142, according to a statement by Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.
“Expressions and acts of hate, whether they target origins or religious beliefs, whether they take the form of physical violence or verbal threats, are an intolerable attack on our common project, the foundations of our social ... pact,” the statement said.
To mobilize against forces of hate, and its banalization, the ministry is creating a network of special investigators around France. And it has designated experts on racism and anti-Semitism in gendarmeries and departments, the statement said.
The statistics revealing the “permanence of anti-Semitic hate” take on a particular meaning as the world marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, he noted.
A total of 687 anti-Semitic acts were counted in 2019, compared to 541 the previous year. The account by the interior ministry showed that 151 of the acts were of the most severe category, “actions,” meaning attacks on people or their possessions, theft or physical acts. There were 536 threats.
Anti-Muslim acts were counted at 154 compared to 100 in 2018. Anti-Christian acts were stable in 2019, but the figure was high at 1,052, mainly attacks on goods or property with a religious character.
An online platform that would allow investigators to chat with witnesses and victims of hate is being set up, among a series of new measures now in place or in the works, the statement said.