In the United States, Jews report 65% of ‘Hate Crimes’ where they make up less than 2% of the overall population. 3% of these cases are solved. Could the incident reported below, be yet another example of such ‘Hate Crimes’? Ed.
Paris — Police patrolled suburban trains on Monday and studied video from surveillance cameras, trying to track down six men who allegedly attacked a young mother and scrawled swastikas on her stomach.
But doubts surfaced about whether the attack, which stunned France, had actually occurred.
A 23-year-old mother told police that she was robbed by a knife-wielding gang of six young men while riding a train with her infant Friday morning. She claimed to have been mistreated after being mistaken for a Jew. None of some 20 witnesses came to her rescue, she told police.
Investigators trying to track down the culprits had almost no clues to guide them.
Surveillance cameras at the station where the culprits reportedly left the train showed no young men running from the scene, and no witnesses have come forward despite repeated calls from officials and promises of anonymity.
Both France-Info radio and the television station LCI reported that the young woman had filed several complaints about violence and aggressive treatment in the past. Neither news outlet provided sources, but LCI said the woman had filed six such complaints. That information could not be immediately confirmed.
“It is absolutely necessary to have a certitude before speaking,” said Paris Police Chief Jean-Paul Proust, when asked about the case on France-2 television. “I have no certitude.”
Despite the doubts being cast on the woman’s report, officials continued to issue statements of shock and calls to fight anti-Semitism and passiveness by bystanders.
Deputy Minister for Victims’ Rights Nicole Guedj met with the young mother, then asked witnesses to step forward, particularly a young man said to have been seated near the mother.
“The gesture that he was not able to make Friday, he must make today,” Ms. Guedj said.
Ms. Guedj also suggested that witnesses who failed to act at the time would not risk being pursued for non-assistance to a person in danger, a crime in France.
“It is difficult to go after people who feel themselves to be in danger,” she said.
France was stunned by news of the attack, which emerged over the weekend. The brutality of the aggression, its anti-Semitic character and the fact that no one came to the mother’s rescue raised worrisome questions.
“Anti-Semitism is shameful … but there is also a sickness in our society,” said Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. “It’s indifference to violence.”
He called for courage among citizens, saying that “courage must be quicker than violence.”
Police, their information based on the woman’s account, said that the gang, described by the victim as between the ages of 15 and 20, allegedly grabbed the woman’s backpack, taking her money and credit cards. When they saw that her identification card said she lived in the wealthy 16th district of Paris, they reportedly told the woman: “There are only Jews in the 16th.”
The woman told police that the men, described as North Africans and blacks, then cut off locks of her hair, opened her shirt with their knives and used markers to draw three swastikas on her stomach.
Ms. Guedj said the woman told her that about 20 people in the train were “capable of seeing” what was happening.
One of the attackers held the woman by her neck, forcing her to keep her head to the ground so that she couldn’t see them, several French newspapers quoted police as saying.
Meanwhile, the office of President Jacques Chirac said that crimes involving racism would not be among those benefiting from the traditional Bastille Day pardons on Wednesday.