Swastikas and a slung pig’s head were found on 148 Muslim graves in a French WWI cemetery.
The Muslim justice minister, Rachida Dati, whose parents are North African, was also directly insulted in some of the spray-painted invectives discovered on Sunday, said State Prosecutor Jean-Pierre Valensi.
The incident came one year after similar profanities were found on Muslim gravestones at the same Notre-Dame de Lorette cemetery in the town of Arras, in northern France. Three youths were later jailed as a result.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy promised to punish those responsible, and expressed his “profound outrage.”
“This is the most inadmissible kind of racism and the president of the republic shares the pain of France’s entire Muslim community,” said an Elysee Palace statement.
Dati responded in a press release. “Through its racist connotations, it is an assault on the values of the republic and an insult to all French people,” she stated.
Approximately 5 million Muslims live in France and 78,000 North African colonial subjects were killed defending France in WWI, reported Reuters.
Some 576 of the 40,000 in the Arras WWI cemetery, one of France’s largest, belong to fallen Muslim soldiers.