Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

14 Tammuz 5768 - July 17, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Arab Primary Suspect in Assault on French Jew

By Arnon Yaffeh, Paris

Two Arabs and a black man from a Muslim gang were arrested and charged with assaulting Rudy Ilan Haddad, 17, in Paris' 19th arrondissement. The first brought before the police lineup was a hulking skinhead who was identified as a career soldier in the French military. Fouad O., 26, was brought before the investigating judge as the primary suspect who allegedly struck Ilan Haddad on the head with a metal rod as he was on his way to the shul. The Arab soldier continued hitting the victim even after he lost consciousness, nearly killing him.

Last week policemen raided his parents' apartment, but didn't find him there. Later armed policemen arrested him while sleeping in his quarters at a French Air Force base, where he serves as a technician.

The fact that this time the French police made a concerted effort to arrest a suburban Arab who attacked a Jew indicates a change in government policy. Previously the government would try to downplay the severity of violent attacks against Jews. Still, the press is depicting the assault as a fight between Muslim and Jewish gangs.

According to reports President Sarkozy himself ordered the three arrested. The judge charged Fouad with "attempted murder and collective violence with antisemitic overtones under aggravated circumstances," as the charge sheet reads, and ordered his arrest for interrogation. The antisemitism she noted makes the charges more severe. His parents claimed he lived on the violent fringes of society until he enlisted in the military as a technician.

Another Muslim, referred to as Sekou M., is facing the same charges. He admits he was present when the group of Arabs and Africans attacked Haddad, but claims he stood off to the side and was not among the three assailants. The police reported he has a criminal record. The third suspect, a 27-year-old from Mali, was accused of injuring another Jew on that same Shabbos with a machete. Despite being charged with excessive violence he was released immediately. The judge rejected the prosecutor's request to keep him in custody as a menace. She also released four other suspects following their arrests for interrogation.

Despite the grave-sounding charges the assailants won't rot in jail for years pending trial, as is common in France, sometimes even in the case of light charges. But not for assaulting Jews. Five other Arabs charged with attempted murder were released one day after their arrest and were back on the streets. Judges don't stand up to the pressure, taking pity on the assailants and releasing them from custody.

The background and ages of the three suspects disprove reporters' claim the attack was part of a turf battle between local gangs, since the suspects are already several years past adolescence. Still, journalists insist on referring to them as "youths."

The victim, Rudy Haddad, was discharged from the hospital. His mother reports he suffers from memory loss and headaches. She accused the press of disseminating false reports. Her son was making his way to the synagogue alone when he was attacked and does not belong to a gang, not even Beitar. He had never been involved in gang fights. "It's not enough that they almost killed my son, but now they're also defaming him and tainting his reputation," she told a Jewish radio station.


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