Parisian Synagogue is Ransacked; Vandals Scrawl Anti-semitic Graffiti

Vandals broke into the synagogue and community center in the Parisian suburb of Garges-Les-Gonesses late Saturday night, ransacking rooms, overturning furniture and breaking into the holy Ark.

While the vandals left the synagogue’s Torah scrolls untouched, they scribbled graffiti on the walls in French and in “broken Arabic,” according to Shlomo Guez, an official at the community center.

“We’ll blow you up,” read one inscription, followed by the initials FIS in French and Arabic.

FIS is the French acronym for the Islamic Salvation Front, an Islamic fundamentalist terror group opposed to the current government in Algeria.

In recent months the group has claimed responsibility for the assassinations of several non-Muslims, including one Jew, who were living or working in Algeria.

The synagogue and community center are located in a section of Garges-Les- Gonesses that is home to many Arabs from France’s former North African colonies.

“This is obviously a provocation,” Guez said in an interview. “The vandals weren’t after money.”

There are about 6,000 Jews living in Garges-Les-Gonesses out of a total population of 45,000, according to Guez. The vandalized synagogue draws approximately 500 worshipers every Shabbat.

Guez added that the synagogue has been the target of past incidents. In one case, the windows of the synagogue were smashed. On other occasions, he said, Jews going to or coming from the community center have been threatened by hooligans who threw eggs or rotten vegetables at them.

The Communist mayor of Garges-Les-Gonesses, Henri Cukierman, who is Jewish, visited the synagogue and community center Sunday morning and promised to step up the police presence there.

The local representative of the French Ministry of Justice and the area’s police chief also came to assess the situation, but there were no announcements that any arrests had been made.

Following the incident, local police stationed a van in front of the synagogue.

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