France has expelled Mohammed Hammami, a Tunisian Imam who in his sermons in Paris “encouraged violent jihad, made anti-Semitic remarks, and justified the use of violence and corporeal punishment against women,” Arutz Sheva reported. He evidently believed that adulterous wives should be whipped to death and frequently defended violence against women.
According to the French Interior Ministry, “These unacceptable, deliberate, repeated provocations and discrimination constitute a threat to French society and security.” Interior Minister Manuel Valls told reporters, “We decided to be uncompromising against all those who utter hate speech against the Republic and our values.” The eviction of an anti-Semitic imam from French territory constitutes a step in the right direction in addressing a recent surge of anti-Semitism within France.
According to official data, there has been a 45% increase in the number of anti-semitic incidents in France over the past year. Anti-semitism has especially become an augmented issue following the Toulouse Massacre, when Mohammed Merah attacked the Otzar Hatorah Jewish School, slaughtering a rabbi and three children. Anti-semitic incidents since the Toulouse Massacre have included but are not limited to blanks being fired at a synagogue in Argenteuil, a firebomb being thrown at a kosher supermarket in Sarcelles, and the posting of anti-Semitic tweets asserting that “a good Jew is a dead Jew” on France’s Union of Jewish Students twitter page. Last year, 389 anti-semitic incidents were recorded in France, ranging from vandalism to violence targeting members of the French Jewish community.
Furthermore, according to a survey done by the Anti-Defamation League, 14 percent of French people believe that Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus Christ; nearly half of French people believe that French Jews are more loyal to Israel than France; and over a third of French people think that Jews talk too much about the Holocaust. Thus, the Anti-Defamation League concluded that nearly one third of Europeans generally speaking hold anti-Semitic beliefs, although the French are better than other European populations such as the Spanish in this regards.
Nevertheless, despite these facts, the French government is taking action to tackle this problem. As Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu told the French magazine Paris Match, “The French government is committed to fighting anti-Semitism. President Francois Hollande has assured me of this, as did his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. French leaders have understood that this fight is not only important for the Jewish citizens of France, but also for France itself.” The expulsion of Imam Mohammed Hammami is merely one of many steps that the French government is taking to help the French Jewish community in the face of adversity.
Reported by: Rachel Avraham for United With Israel
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