Macron demands schools address antisemitism after Jewish girl raped

June 20, 2024 1:49 pm

[Source: Reuters]

President Emmanuel Macron asked schools to hold a “discussion hour” on racism and antisemitism this week, after the rape of a Jewish girl in a Paris suburb added to France’s charged social climate ahead of elections.

Three teenagers were arrested this week following a complaint from a 12-year-old girl from Courbevoie, west of Paris, who told police she had been gang-raped while being insulted with antisemitic slurs, the Nanterre public prosecution office said.

The investigation centres on charges of rape, death threats and assault among other crimes, with an alleged religious motivation cited as aggravating factors.

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Incidents of antisemitism have surged in France since the attack by Hamas gunmen on southern Israel on Oct. 7 and the subsequent war on the Islamist group launched by Israel.

Macron was swift to react, with France in the midst of a three-week election campaign after he called a shock snap parliamentary election.

The president on Wednesday asked education minister Nicole Belloubet “to organise a discussion in all schools on the fight against antisemitism and racism, to prevent hate speech with serious consequences from infiltrating schools”, Macron’s office said.

Opponents have accused the National Rally and the hard-left France Unbowed party within the Popular Front alliance of tolerating antisemitic views in their ranks, allegations both parties deny.

National Rally leader Jordan Bardella said on Wednesday France must fight an “antisemitic atmosphere” present in the country since the start of the Gaza war.