Damascus (Jul. 29)
The ritual murder accusation which was raised here last week when Shalom Chattah, a Damascus Jew, was held by the authorities for having allegedly carried off a 5-year-old girl in his bag, was disproved when the matter was brought to court.
Chattah was acquitted of the charge. The proceedings disclosed that two women instigated the libel. They were sentenced to two weeks imprisonment and the payment of a fine of 100 Syrian pounds each. It was explained that Chattah is a dyer. On July 19th he returned to a Christian family in Damascus clothes given him for dying. He brought the clothes in a bag. When the mistress of the house disliked his work, she refused to pay him. Chattah insisted, and then the woman, in an attempt to avoid payment, started to cry that Chattah intended to kidnap her five-year-old daughter, who was standing by. A crowd gathered immediately and Chattah was in danger of being lynched. The police arrested him to accord him protection.
In the meantime, great excitement was caused in the Damascus Christian quarter, where thousands of men and women beseiged the prison demanding that Chattah be delivered to them for lynching. The Jews of Damascus were panic-stricken. When the matter was brought to court, the authorities discounted the ritual murder accusation, bringing out by cross-examination the facts in the case.
Twelve men were held on charges of disturbing the peace.
The crowd so gravely mistreated Chattah that he will be incapacitated for a month.