(JTA) — A rabbi and a Muslim rapper announced the release in France of a song against racism that they co-produced ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the anti-Semitic murder of Ilan Halimi.
Coco TKT, a well-known rapper who converted to Islam after spending several years in prison for robbery, collaborated with Rabbi Michel Serfaty of Ris-Orangis north of Paris to perform the clip, which the two intend to release online on Feb. 13 – the date on which Halimi, a cell-phone salesman who was kidnapped and tortured because he was Jewish, was found dying in a field outside the French capital.
“A rabbi who goes to prison to look for a rapper who converted to Islam to sing with him for the sake of coexistence it a pretty crazy undertaking,” Coco TKT told the Le Parisien weekly, which reported on the initiative Friday. “But I think he was right: Rap can be the vehicle through which young people can be reached in France.
“Ilan Halimi is the proof that one must must act to fight against anti-Semitism and all that separates the people and communities,” said Coco TKT, whose real name is Julien Cocoa. According to the weekly, he was released last year from prison.
“Rap is used to disseminate many negative messages, but it can also become a tool to reach young people,” said Serfaty. The 72-year-old rabbi and the 30-year-old rapper have collaborated in the past, and are both members of a non-profit Association for Friendship between Muslims and Jews in France, or AJMF.
Separately, the Haverim Jewish organization held a ceremony commemorating Halimi, 26 at the time of his death, on Thursday in a public garden named after him in Paris’ 12th district. Several hundred people attended the event.