Shimon Samuels
Shimon Samuels

Open Letter to French Interior Minister: ‘Detention and Arrest Leads to Exoneration’

Mr. Gerard Darmanin, Interior Minister of France,

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre and its friends are aghast at the growing pandemic of stabbings in the United States and France, globally spread on social media. A seemingly copycat phenomenon was featured, only last week, from the Capitol in Washington DC and Central Park, New York… to the heavily Jewish Sarcelles suburb of Paris.

The Washington attack seems to be politically motivated.

In Central Park, a video shows the grisly antisemitic knifing of a Jewish family – clearly identifiable as such by their garb – wounding the husband, wife and baby.

In Sarcelles, three kippa-wearing schoolboys were attacked by a knife-wielding Pakistani. They were saved by a balcony witness alerting the police, who arrived immediately on the scene.

Mr. Minister, such cases in the United States and other democracies result in swift detention and arrest, followed by a court arraignment and judicial measures.

If recognized as a hate crime, the judgment, in French terminology, “aggravates” (hardens) the penalty.

In France, it is apparent, however, that judges continue to regard native-born or migrant Islamists, as victims of racism rather than perpetrators. Thus the revolving-door judgment – with kid-gloves or arguments claiming irresponsibility of perpetrators for their actions… If under the influence of narcotics, alcohol or depression now becoming a standard ruling,.

Moreover, incitement online, or family and school radicalization by mosques or even suppliers of drugs and alcohol are not sufficiently addressed.

Nor is the expulsion of foreign perpetrators to their native countries a solution, in view of cases of returnees to Europe under false identities, after recruitment and training in ideological terrorism

Mr. Minister, detention and arrest, especially for hate crimes, must lead to an arraignment resulting in a sentence. Otherwise, inevitably, the number of antisemitic attacks and targeting of other victims of hate will spiral.

Most respectfully,
Dr. Shimon Samuels

About the Author
Shimon Samuels is Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He has served as Deputy Director of the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, European Director of ADL, and Israel Director of AJC. He was born in UK and studied in UK, Israel, U.S. and Japan.
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