French chief rabbi praises government’s crackdown on radical Islam


(JTA) — French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia praised his government’s crackdown on radical Islamists, writing in an op-ed that it makes clear that “things are changing — belatedly, but all the same.”

Korsia’s op-ed Wednesday in Le Figaro followed news that the French Interior Ministry has dissolved a Hamas front group as part of a slew of actions prompted by the Oct. 16 beheading of a history teacher near Paris. The teacher, Samuel Paty, had been killed by a Muslim refugee from Chechenya after showing his students the same caricatures of the prophet Mohammed that had prompted a deadly assault on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in 2015.

“There are no lone wolves … [and] there is no auto-indoctrination,” Korsia wrote. “On the contrary: The spirit of those made-in-France terrorists is part of an elevation of heroes, an affinity for horror, a glorification guaranteed by a multinational of fanatics. That is what’s being targeted.”

The Hamas front, Collectif Cheikh Yassine, was named for one of the founders of Hamas who was killed in an Israeli strike in 2004.  Several suspected Islamists have also been arrested by French authorities and at least one mosque was temporarily shuttered.

Even before Paty’s murder, French President Emmanuel Macron had announced a plan that he called an “attack on Islamist separatism,” and which aimed to ban underground Muslim schools among other venues of Islamist indoctrination that Macron said endanger the integrity of the republic.

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