New Yorkers remember Jewish hate-crime victim

3rd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

NEW YORK, March 3, 2006 (AFP) - Some 500 people held a prayer ceremony late Thursday for Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jewish Frenchman who was brutally murdered last month outside Paris.

NEW YORK, March 3, 2006 (AFP) - Some 500 people held a prayer ceremony late Thursday for Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jewish Frenchman who was brutally murdered last month outside Paris.

Organized by the Jewish community and held outside the Jewish Center of Manhattan, the remembrance ceremony drew Americans and Frenchmen alike, and was attended by French consul Francois Delattre, who spoke of France's change in attitude toward hate crimes.

"The French government, which a few years ago was part of the problem, is now becoming part of the solution. They didn't hesitate to say this was a hate crime," the consul told the mourners and Anti-Defamation League director Kenneth Jacobson, who organized the event.

Delattre said Halimi's kidnapping and murder provoked "a tremendous amount of uncertainty among the French (Jewish) community," and has raised questions about the quality of life in Europe.

After a prayer and a minute of silence for the deceased, musician Peter Yarrow, of the 1960s pop group Peter, Paul and Mary, closed the ceremony dedicating three songs "across the ocean, to Ilan's family and to everyone who wants to turn this tragedy into the heart and soul of a commitment to love and caring."

On February 13, Halimi was found naked, bound, gagged and dying in the southern Paris suburb of Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois, where he had managed to crawl after being dumped nearby.

After being lured into a sex trap, he had been held for three weeks by a gang who sent ransom demands to his family, police said.

A total of 13 people have been placed under judicial investigation, including the young woman believed to have acted as the bait.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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