Chirac calls crackdown on hate crimes

8th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

LE CHAMBON-SUR-LIGNON, France, July 8 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac called Thursday for perpetrators of anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic acts to face tough punishment

LE CHAMBON-SUR-LIGNON, France, July 8 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac called Thursday for perpetrators of anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic acts to face tough punishment

"The perpetrators of these acts, of these aggressions, these acts of hatred which have increased in recent years and months, will be pursued without respite," he said.

He called for the courts to "punish with the greatest severity and the greatest exemplarity" such acts.

Chirac was speaking in the central town of Chambon-sur-Lignon, which during World War II took in some 5,000 Jews who were fleeing the Nazis and their French collaborators.

France, which is home to Europe's biggest Jewish community, some 600,000 strong, has recorded a surge in anti-Semitic acts since the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict started in 2000.

With five million Muslims, the country also hosts the continent's biggest Islamic community.

Chirac also urged the French to "remember the recent past."

"I ask them to remain true to the lessons of history, a history that is so recent," he said in his speech here.

"Faced with the risk of indifference and the passivity of daily life, I solemnly ask every French woman and man to be vigilant," the president said.

French authorities said in early June that 180 anti-Jewish acts had been reported so far this year, ranging from insults in the street to vandalism, arson and assaults, but that 80 percent had gone unpunished because their perpetrators had not yet been identified.

The Jewish Agency, tasked with attracting Jews to immigrate to Israel, has said it is bracing for the arrival of tens of thousands French Jews as a result of a growing anti-Semitism in France.

 

© AFP

Subject: French news

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