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Last Updated: Monday, 3 May, 2004, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Cemetery desecrated in France
Desecrated tombstone at Niederhaslach cemetery
About 20 tombstones were vandalised at Niederhaslach
Vandals have daubed swastikas on graves at a Christian cemetery in eastern France, two days after a similar incident at a nearby Jewish cemetery.

Tombstones were found desecrated at Niederhaslach cemetery in Alsace, near the German border, on Sunday.

On Friday, swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti were discovered at a Jewish cemetery in Herrlisheim.

The French government has strongly condemned the desecrations. It is unclear who is responsible.

France has suffered a wave of anti-Semitic violence coinciding with renewed fighting in the Middle East.

Many of the attacks have been blamed on young Muslims - although it is unclear who is behind the cemetery incidents in Alsace.

The local Council of the Muslim Faith has called for those responsible to be punished "with then utmost severity".

On Monday, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin reaffirmed his "firm condemnation of all racist or anti-Semitic attacks".

He spoke after meeting the head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, Dalil Boubakeur, in Paris.




SEE ALSO:
French mosque fires draw protest
07 Mar 04  |  Europe
Desecration of the dead
08 Dec 03  |  Magazine


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