French, Canadian Jewish leaders meet to discuss fighting Islamic radicalization


MONTREAL (JTA) — Jewish leaders from Montreal and France met in the Canadian city to discuss ways to combat the rising tide of global anti-Semitism and Islamic radicalization.

Thursday’s two-hour meeting at City Hall came the day before an Islamist attack on the premises of a factory near Lyon, France, in which the decapitated body of a man was found and an attacker brandishing an Islamic State flag was arrested. The meeting was billed as being held in the wake of the deadly Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket attacks in January.

The participants included officials from the French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF and B’nai B’rith in France, and locally from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and Jewish member of Parliament Irwin Cotler.

One possibility they discussed for Montreal was to establish a designated police hate crimes unit.

“[W]e have to call a spade a spade,” said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, adding that “we have to denounce” anti-Semitism and “understand that clearly something is going on and we must be there to fight it.”

The meeting was a follow-up to a trip Coderre made to France in the wake of the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine that killed 12.

Earlier this month, Coderre convened a meeting of 23 mayors from around the world to seek out ways to fight radicalization.

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