France: 200 Graves Trashed at Jewish Cemetery

French president denounces 'odious and barbaric' act
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 16, 2015 12:15 AM CST
A woman lights a candle at the Danish embassy in Paris, France, pay respect to victims of the shooting attack in Copenhagen.   (Christophe Ena)
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(Newser) – Hundreds of graves have been vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France in what President Francois Hollande calls an "odious and barbaric" anti-Semitic act against French values. The vandalism comes at a time of growing insecurity among French Jews and amid general religious tensions in Europe, after Islamic radicals attacked a kosher market and a satirical newspaper in Paris last month and similar attacks hit Denmark this weekend. Hollande said in a statement that "France is determined to fight relentlessly against anti-Semitism and those who want to attack the nation's values."

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says a criminal investigation team is at the damaged cemetery in Sarre-Union, near the German border, and authorities will do "everything" to pursue the vandals. Jewish and Muslim grave sites and places of worship in France see sporadic but frequent vandalism. The incident this weekend was of an unusually large scale, and hit a cemetery that has been vandalized in the past. Local media reported that about 200 gravestones were knocked down, and a monument to Holocaust victims was damaged.

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