Attack on Muslim Graves Latest in Series of Hate Crimes

October 24, 2004

Source: The Observer,11882,1334785,00.html

On October 24, 2004 The Observer reported, "Since April, the French region of Alsace, which borders Germany, has seen about 16 similar desecrations and more than 300 tombs have been defaced. Catholic, Muslim and Jewish graveyards have been hit in rotation, with satanic symbols and Nazi slogans scrawled on the stones... Despite the frequency of the attacks, police have made little progress in identifying the culprits. Last week vandals struck again in a small graveyard in Wattwiller. During the night a Nazi flag was put on the pole kept for the French flag and the headstone of a war hero killed in 1915 - the only Muslim grave in the cemetery - was broken off and stolen... A government-commissioned report concluded last week that rising racism and anti-semitism represent a 'radical threat to the survival of our democratic system'. In the first nine months of this year, police logged 123 racist attacks and 294 threats in France, as well as 166 anti-semitic attacks and 584 threats, totals higher than those for all 2003."