Sharp rise in racist incidents in France in 2004

3rd January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 27 (AFP) - Racist incidents sharply increased in France this year and the authorities are concerned about desecration of places of worship, whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian, the interior ministry said Monday.

PARIS, Dec 27 (AFP) - Racist incidents sharply increased in France this year and the authorities are concerned about desecration of places of worship, whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian, the interior ministry said Monday.  

A report said racist violence including anti-Semitism had increased by over 70 percent, with 194 reported acts and 711 threats reported since the beginning of 2004, compared to 112 acts and 418 threats over the same period last year.  

However there was a slight dip of five percent in reported racial incidents in the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year.  

The ministry said it was concerned about "a considerable number of incidents of sacrilege and acts aimed at places of worship, whether Christian .... Jewish or Muslim."   There had been a reported 92 such violations of Christian churches, 31 of Jewish synagogues and 28 of Muslim mosques.  

The vast majority of the offences - 70.5 percent - had occurred in the Ile-de-France, the region in and around Paris.  

A total of 192 persons had been arrested for racial and anti-Semitic violence during this year.   

Police had identified some 30 extreme right wingers likely to have been involved in desecrating graveyards.  

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin vowed last month to deal harshly racist offenders.  

"I was revolted to see that some extremists had broken away from the national and regional traditions of respecting religions and desecrated places of worship or cemeteries of all religions," Raffarin said, referring to desecration of Jewish, Muslim and Christian graves in the Alsace region in eastern France.  

In October nearly 100 Jewish graves were daubed with swastikas and Nazi SS emblems in a cemetery at Brumath, near Strasbourg.  

France, home to Europe's largest Jewish community estimated at 600,000, has seen a rise in anti-Semitic acts in recent years.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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