BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Europe
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
New attack on Paris synagogue
A man prays in one of the attacked synagogues
The attacks may be linked to the Middle East conflict
test hello test
By James Coomarasamy
BBC Paris correspondent

There has been a second petrol bomb attack on a synagogue in the Paris suburb of Garges-les-Gonesse.

The building suffered only minor damage in the attack, which is the latest in series of incidents against Jewish targets across the country. Two petrol bombs were also thrown at the same synagogue at the weekend.

French authorities have stepped up security outside Jewish institutions and arrested over 30 people after an upsurge in anti-Semitic violence.

Police are not revealing the identities of the people who have been arrested.

Increasing concern

The continuing series of attacks on Jewish targets is causing the Jewish community and the authorities in France great concern.

Many of the synagogue attacks, such as the ones in Garges-les-Gonesse, have taken place in poor suburbs where large numbers of disaffected youths from North African backgrounds live.

Burned Jewish school bus
There has been a string of attacks on Jewish property
But while both Jewish and Muslim community leaders believe they are responsible for at least some of the incidents - partly as a reaction to events in the Middle East - they stress the picture is nuanced.

Privately and publicly, no one is saying this is an organised campaign, nor an overtly political one.

From all sides there have been denials that France has become an anti-Semitic country as some in Israel have charged.

But there is an awareness that if the violence is not stopped, it could create very deep rifts in a country with Western Europe's largest Muslim and Jewish populations.

And although there is no proof as yet, there is also an awareness that extreme right-wingers could be using the situation for their own purposes, less than two weeks ahead of a presidential election.

See also:

07 Apr 02 | Middle East
Anti-Israeli protests spread
05 Apr 02 | Europe
Detentions after Jewish attacks
03 Apr 02 | Europe
French Jews fear more violence
01 Apr 02 | Europe
French Jews demand protection
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories