French hate crimes surged in wake of Gaza war

French hate crimes surged in wake of Gaza war


French hate crimes surged in wake of Gaza war

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(AFP) - Racist, xenophobic and religion-based hate crimes surged 32 percent in France last year, government figures showed Wednesday, with a spike following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Police recorded 8,500 crimes and misdemeanours “committed because of the ethnicity, nationality, supposed race or religion” of the victim across 2023, the interior ministry’s statistics service (SSMSI) said.

The statisticians highlighted “a marked acceleration towards the end of the year”—coinciding with the period following Hamas’s bloody October 7 attack on Israel and the state’s devastating campaign in Gaza.

There were twice as many crimes and misdemeanours recorded in October-December as in the same period in 2022.

“The increase can be seen from October, with a level of offences holding at the same high level in November before falling back in December,” the report said.

France’s Representative Council of Jewish Institutions (CRIF) had said in January that it recorded four times as many anti-Semitic acts last year as in 2022, at 1,676, with an “explosion” in numbers after October 7.

The SSMSI did not break down its figures by the religion of the victim.

Most racist, xenophobic or anti-religious acts were “provocations, insults and defamation”, the report found.

Men, people aged between 25 and 54, and citizens of African countries were especially targeted, it added.
However, only four percent of the victims filed a criminal complaint.

While the rate of hate crimes in Paris was almost three times higher than the national average, the report noted that the capital sees far more transit of foreigners and people from elsewhere in France than other areas, which could partly explain the difference.