PARIS (JTA) – The mother of a teen victim of an alleged anti-Semitic attack in Paris says her son “doesn’t remember anything.”
Corinne Haddad, whose son Rudy, 17, was beaten and put into a coma for motives French prosecutors believe are linked to his Jewish identity, spoke out Wednesday for the first time since the incident.
She told the French daily le Monde and other media outlets that her son was “not a hoodlum.”
“They wanted to kill my son,” she told journalists.
Many in France are debating whether Rudy was attacked because he was wearing a kipah or whether the violent beating was the result of gang-related activity.
France’s public prosecutor conducting the investigation into the matter told reporters he believed the answer lies somewhere in between and was a result of interethnic group violence “aggravated by an anti-Semitic character.”
The five teens held for questioning since the June 21 attack were released Wednesday but will be recalled for further testimony in the case.
The five, aged 14 to 17, have been labeled “assisted witnesses” by the Paris judge, which puts their status between suspect and witness, explained news reports.
Various reports cited between 15 to 30 young blacks attacking Rudy.
Corinne Haddad told reporters that her son was “doing much better.”
“Physically he has bruises all over his body, his arms and his face. He has stitches on his head and suffers from a lot of pain from his head,” she said. “He is weak, but the doctors say that he’ll make it.
“He doesn’t remember anything, absolutely nothing. He asked, ‘did I dream?’ He saw the bruises on his arms and asked, ‘what’s this?’ He hasn’t seen his face yet.”
The day of the attack, “Rudy was going to synagogue, I’m certain,” Haddad said. “I think he was alone. They wouldn’t have left him, the others, they wouldn’t have abandoned him like that.
“My son is not a hoodlum. I’m an education counselor in high school. I work with youth. I taught him moral values. He has friends of all religions, of all races.”
Haddad is from the northeastern Paris suburb Pantin and was known to regularly spend time in the 19th district of Paris, where a large community of observant Jews live.
Angst has intensified in areas such as the 19th district, where interethnic violence between Muslims and blacks of immigrant origin and the Jews living among them has grown more frequent.
Haddad said she was aware of fights at the Buttes-Chaumont park in the 19th district, “but I thought they were little incidents.”
“Rudy never talked to me about big fights,” she said. “Anti-Semitic insults, yes, but nothing very serious.”