Islamists have declared war on France, Jewish community leader says following fatal church stabbings


(JTA) — Islamists have declared war on France, a senior leader of French Jews said following multiple assaults, including the murder of three people at a church in Nice.

Gil Taieb, the vice president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, made the comments Thursday in reference to the beheading of one woman and the fatal stabbing of two others outside the Notre Dame church of the Mediterranean coastal city.

The perpetrator was shouting “Allah hu akbar” — Arabic for Allah is the greatest — before he was shot and rushed to the hospital, Le Monde reported.

Also on Thursday, another man shouting about Allah attempted to stab police officers in Avignon, another southern French city situated about 120 miles west of Nice. He was shot and died from his wounds, Europe1 reported. Initial reports did not say whether authorities believe the incidents are linked.

“The Islamists are waging war against us!” Taieb wrote on Twitter. “We stand united against Islamist barbarism.”

The incidents followed protests across the Muslim world against a plan of action against radical Islam being pushed by French President Emmanuel Macron. It includes banning home schooling to eliminate underground Islamist schools and limiting foreign funding for houses of worship, Macron said.

Separately, violence broke out on Wednesday in at least three suburbs of the city of Lyon, situated about 120 miles north of Avignon. Hundreds of young men of Turkish origin assaulted residents of suburbs with a large Armenian population, France Bleu reported.

The clashes were connected to the deadly fighting between Azerbaijan, a Muslim-majority nation whose residents have cultural and language ties to Turkey, and Armenia.

CRIF condemned the perpetrators of those assaults and said on Twitter that perceived incitement by Turkish President Recep Tayyp Erdogan had a role in it. Erdogan has said that Macron needs “mental treatment” and evoked the Holocaust to condemn Macron’s anti-Islamist plan.

Recommended from JTA