PARIS (JTA) – The umbrella group of French Jewish communities condemned rioting at a mosque on the French island of Corsica following an assault on two firemen there.
CRIF in its statement Saturday referenced events that took place on Christmas Day in the Ajaccio municipality. Demonstrators ransacked a Muslim prayer hall and attempted to burn copies of the Quran, police said, following a night of violence that injured two firefighters and a police officer.
They were wounded in Jardins de L’Empereur, a low-income neighborhood of the city, when they were “ambushed” by “several hooded youths,” authorities said, according to France24.
Following “attacks on firefighters, and the desecration of a Muslim house of worship in Corsica, CRIF condemns firmly these anti-republican actions,” the group wrote on Twitter.
In France, the term “anti-republican” is used to describe actions or opinions deemed contrary to the values of the French republic.
Arno Klarsfeld, a Jewish human rights lawyer and son of the Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, wrote on Twitter that the mosque incident was inconsistent with Corsica’s legacy as the only French region where Nazi orders to deport Jews were defied.
“During the occupation, one single Jew was deported from Corsica. The vast majority of Corsicans are not racists. They adhere to their identity,” Klarsfeld wrote.
Later he added: “Attacks on firefighters, ambulances occur regularly in Israel, where ambulances can’t enter certain villages without protection.”