On February 11, 23 yr-old Ilan Halimi was found
naked, handcuffed, and bleeding profusely. He was incapable of speaking. His entire body – or “80% of it,” according to police – had been butchered. He died of his wounds on the way to the hospital, just a few minutes after he was discovered.
He had been kidnapped three weeks earlier (emphasis mine)
The French attorney general believes Halimi was targeted “because he was Jewish and thus, as a Jew, presumed to be rich.” One teenage gang member admitted having put out a cigarette on Halimi’s face “because he didn’t like Jews.”
It seems, however, that the Barbarians’ anti-Semitism went much further. Mr. Fofana and other core gang members may have been close to a local mosque. According to one witness, verses from the Koran were recited while Halimi was tortured.
accuses the police of missteps that led to her son’s death. She revealed to Haaretz yesterday that the police told the family to ignore the gang’s attempts to contact them for five critical days, after which Ilan was found near death outside the city. She also accuses the police of ignoring the anti-Semitic motivation in the case in order not to alienate Muslims.
Replying to Mrs. Halimi’s words, the police have stated (link in French) that this is a “difficile, fastidieuse et délicate”, a “difficult, exhaustive, and delicate” investigation. The Times (UK) reports that Jews claim police hid killers’ motive to appease ghetto.
Last night’s France2 newscast started with the question, “Was Ilan Halimi killed because he was Jewish? We don’t know yet,” while the the banner called it “La hypothese antisemite” — the anti-Semitic hypothesis. Reuters does one better and refers to “the gang led by an Ivory Coast immigrant with a Muslim name“. The Beeb skirts the issue with their video ‘Racist motive’ to French kidnap (go to right sidebar, under video), which doesn’t mention the word Muslim.
Instead, France2 and the Beeb are looking for barbarians. The barbarians in question (link in French) is one of many gangs that terrorize the banlieus (i.e., housing projects). Gang leader Yussef Fofana,a Muslim, has left France and apparently gone to Ivory Coast
Fifteen people, aged 17 to 32, were arrested last week in connection with the death. Five have since been released
While the Paris Public Prosecutor said that “no element of the current investigation could link this murder to an anti-Semitic declaration or action”, Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy has stated this was clearly a hate crime motivated by anti-Semitism (both links in French). Sarkozy also revealed that Salafist and pro-Palestinian documents were found during house searches.
Additionally, The investigating magistrate, Corinne Goetzmann is now conducting her enquiry on the basis that the evidence so far points to “premeditated kidnap, incarceration, criminal conspiracy, and murder, on the basis of the victim’s membership of a particular religious group“.
This is not the first anti-Semitic kidnapping in the recent past:
“We know that a few months ago a 16-year-old Jewish girl was kidnapped,” the family says, “but her parents decided not to go to the police and paid 100,000 euros in ransom.”
This tf1.fr article (in French) also states that Halimi’s sister Ruth had told
police officers “that there were at least three other attempted kidnappings of young Jews, but they persisted in stating that the motives were purely criminal, because they fear to revive confrontations with the Moslems”.
The Times (UK) also states that seven of the suspects arrested
are alleged to be part of a loose gang of young estate-dwellers who had already made six unsuccessful kidnap attempts against residents of Paris. Nicolas Sarkozy, the Interior Minister, told Parliament yesterday that four out of the six [prospective victims] were Jewish.
The France2 video (available only until 2PM EST today) interview doesn’t show Mrs. Halimi’s face — raising in my mind the question, is there fear of retribution over her statements?
Update, 6:45PM This evening’s France2 newscast finally declared the murder an anti-Semitic crime.