President François Hollande hosted the leaders of French Jewry on Sunday and
promised them an uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism.
Saturday, French security forces conducted raids on a suspected network of
Muslim extremists thought to behind an attack on a Jewish grocery store in the
Parisian suburb of Sarcelles on September 19.
The raids, in Paris, Nice,
Cannes and Strasbourg, were led by the special anti-terrorist units of the
police. In Strasbourg, the prime suspect, Jeremie Louis Sidney, 33, a convert to
Islam, opened fire on officers and was shot dead
. He had two wives and two
children, one of them a new-born baby whom he had come to visit.
meeting between Hollande and the representatives of the Jewish community took
place in his Élysée Palace. After the meeting, the head of state told
journalists that he had reaffirmed his “intransigence in fighting against racism
“Nothing can be accepted. Any act, any words,
will be punished with the most severe firmness,” Hollande said.
meeting was being held, French television reported, witnesses heard what turned
out to be blank shots fired toward a synagogue in Argenteuil, a suburb northwest
After the meeting, Joel Mergui, president of the the
Consistoire of France, told France 2 TV: “We never make confound [Islamists and
the Muslim population], but we expect Muslim leaders to again condemn” the
Hollande told his guests that “further steps are going
to be taken” against Islamists, Mergui said.
France 2 reported that
“there is a new profile [of Islamists]; all of them are French, not yet
registered [by security services] and already radicalized.”
questioning of the 11 cell members continued on Sunday and Saturday and they
were ordered held in remand for four days, until Wednesday.
raid in Strasbourg, investigators found “Islamist literature” and a list of
Jewish organizations in the Paris region. Sidney was the leader of the group,
and his DNA was found on the grenade thrown at Sarcelles, leading the police to
He was already sentenced to jail in 2008. That was before he
converted to Islam, stopped drinking alcohol and visited North
Last Wednesday, he left Cannes, where lives with one of his
wives, who is pregnant and has a one-year-old child, after criticizing her
Western way of living, and traveled to Strasbourg.
After his meeting with
the Jewish leaders, Hollande called the president of the French Council of the
Muslim Faith (CFCM), Mohammed Moussaoui, and expressed “his desire to get
together on the basis of republican values.”
“The perpetrators of
criminal acts can’t be confused with the Muslim population of our country,” the
Richard Prasquier, president of the Representative
Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), compared Islamism to Nazism, after
the meeting in the Élysée Palace.
“Islamism is a monstrous ideology, an
ideology of hatred, that one can compare only to a Nazi ideology. To be
compassionate to radical Islam means to be compassionate to Nazism,” Prasquier
Strasbourg prosecutor Patrick Poirret said Sidney was
“very determined with probably the ambition to die a martyr.”
For the end
of the Tishrei and Succot, police reinforced their presence around synagogues
and other Jewish institutions.