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News Brief

September 2, 2004
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More than 1,000 posters denouncing anti-Semitism were plastered on billboards across Paris. The posters are part of a campaign organized by Mayor Bertrand Delanoe to sensitize the city’s residents to the problems of anti-Semitism and intolerance. They will run on all municipal billboards during the first week of the new school year. Plans are also being laid to place the posters around the Parc des Princes Stadium, home to a local soccer team. Last week, Delanoe wrote to school directors in the city, asking them to initiate projects around the same theme. Later this month, the City Council is set to debate a proposal by the mayor to vastly increase security provisions around Jewish institutions.

The Reform movement praised the U.S. Justice Department for a letter outlining its actions to defend Arab, Muslim, Sikh and South Asian students. Alexander Acosta, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, wrote state education departments last month ! citing reports of teacher attacks on such students and warning that such attacks violate federal law. In one instance in Louisiana, a teacher allegedly ripped off a girl’s headscarf and said, “I didn’t know you had hair under there. I hope God punishes you. No, I’m sorry. I hope Allah punishes you.” The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism praised Acosta in a statement issued Wednesday. “As schools open across the nation, we urge the Justice Department to remain vigilant, and to broaden its admirable concern to include those — such as other religious minorities, as well as gay and lesbian students — who may face discrimination in their schools.”

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