PARIS (JTA) — More than 500 Muslim and up to 20 Jewish graves were desecrated in a French military cemetery.
A French Jewish-Muslim alliance group plans to respond with a protest march in Paris, as well as a call for friendship between the two religions, on Dec. 14.
On Monday morning, the day before the the Id al-Adha Muslim holiday, police discovered hundreds of graves sprayed with swastikas and anti-Muslim insults. Some were aimed at France’s Muslim minister of justice, Rachida Dati.
Later that day it was revealed that Jewish graves also had been desecrated.
Muslim tombs have been targeted in the same World War I cemetery near Arras in northern France on two other occasions in the past two years. The most recent incident, in April, included a hung pig’s head and pointed insults at Dati, who is of North African descent.
The French Jewish umbrella CRIF strongly condemned the crime, along with a large swath of French politicians. French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the act "revolting."
Reuters reported that Jean-Marie Le Pen, the president of a far-right political group, labeled the denunciation of the crime "indecent." He decried the "concert of politico-media indignation, which we hear when there’s a question concerning Muslim or Jewish tombs."
An investigation is being led by the interior minister.
The Notre Dame de Lorette cemetery holds about 40,000 World War I graves, 576 of which are Muslim.