But of course.... the Jewish community should not panic.
This comes from Naomi Ragen.
My friend and colleague, journalist Nidra Poller, brings to our attention something you won't hear in the media.
A French gang is targeting Jewish men, and recently kidnapped and brutally tortured and murdered a 23 year-old Jewish man named Ilan in Paris. His mutilated body was found by the railroad tracks. Once again French authorities are belittling the racist nature of this crime, even though evidence points to those involved being North African and three of the four known previous attempted kidnappings targeted Jewish men.
Below, how the crime is being reported, followed by Nidra's analysis of the facts.
DOSSIER: a 23 year-old Jewish man was enticed, trapped, held for 3 ½ weeks, tortured to death in the banlieue of Paris.
Below is a faithful translation of a newspaper article:
Le Figaro 15 February 2006
"A young man was kidnapped and tortured to death.
"Ilan, 23 years old, fell victim to an organized gang, enticed by a customer in a cell phone shop in Paris. Left for dead by his torturers, who had handcuffed and gagged him, he died on his way to the hospital."
"The discovery Monday afternoon of the naked body of Ilan, 23 years-old, near the railroad tracks at Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois (Essonne) is the tragic epilogue of a long police stake out. The victim had been tortured, 80% of his body was covered with bruises, deep cuts, and burns from an inflammable fluid. The young man, handcuffed and gagged, left for dead by his torturers, died on his way to the hospital.
"For three weeks the Parisian criminal brigade, with the help of a hundred detectives, had been tracking a mysterious organized gang of kidnappers who entice their victims with pretty young ladies. The investigation, which began when the young man was kidnapped on January 20, was conducted with utter discretion. For the officers of the Quai des Orfèvres, the macabre discovery marks a failure.
"On 17 January, a young woman in her twenties came into the cell phone shop on Boulevard Voltaire in the 11th arrondissement of Paris where Ilan worked as a salesman. She engaged him in conversation and they exchanged cell phone numbers. They made a date for the evening of the 20th, near Sceaux (Hauts de Seine). That is the last time Ilan was heard from.
"In the following days the kidnappers contacted Ilan's father, and a friend of Ilan by e-mail three times. They sent photos of the hostage, his mouth and eyes taped shut, holding a newspaper to certify the date.
"Police investigators worked through the Net and found the originating electronic addresses, but the messages had been sent from cybercafés in Paris and the banlieue. The cybercafés were placed under surveillance for weeks by the Anti-gang Brigade and the Repression of banditism Brigade.in vain. Technical searches traced back through different servers to electronic mailboxes in the Congo and Ivory Coast.
"We are lost in conjectures"
"On other occasions a mysterious correspondent with a North African or African accent phoned and sent text messages to Ilan's father demanding a ransom. 'But,' explained the public prosecutor Jean Claude Marin, 'the kidnappers were totally inconsistent.'
"The ransom demand went from 430,000 euros to 100,000 euros. 'They changed the pickup point at the last minute. They had us running around in circles,' admits a policeman. 'One day it was Place du Châtelet, the next day Brussels, then in some other country via Western Union. At first we thought they were toying with us like the blackmailers of the AZF terrorist group.'
"The 'Crim' discovered that the gang wasn't on its first try. In mid-January, using the same method of enticement this time with a European type blond young woman, they had contacted another cell phone salesman in a shop on boulevard Voltaire. But he didn't fall into the trap. Early in December in Créteil (Val de Marne) a brunette who said she was a singer approached a young man who was a record producer. There too they traded phone numbers. But the young man's father was suspicious, so he went to the trysting place. He was surprised by three strangers who hit him, handcuffed him, and led him into an underground parking lot. But his assailants were scared away by witnesses.
"François Jaspart, chief of the Parisian PJ explained yesterday: "For now, we are trying to find out exactly how many people the gang has hit on, and we'll try to find an eventual connection," According to our information, the men who were accosted frequented a luxurious striptease joint in the 8th arrondissement [this is apparently a false information]. "We are lost in conjectures," admitted Jean-Claude Marin, adding that the last contact with the hostage takers dated to last Thursday. A phone number for witnesses (01 45 44 31 82) has been set up since yesterday.
The kidnappers, who are now being sought for 'kidnapping, sequestration in organized gang, acts of torture and barbarism,' risk life imprisonment."
Similar articles were published in Libération and Le Monde, though for some reason le Monde incorrectly claimed the victim was 30 years old.
You have to read Guysen Israel News, and listen to Jewish radio to discover that the young man was, as his name suggests, Jewish. And it seems that most of the other attempted kidnappings were made against Jewish men in the same age range.
Ariel Goldman, head of the Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive (a service of the CRIF) was interviewed on Jewish radio this evening. says he heard about the kidnapping just after it happened, by chance, because of personal connections to someone who knew the family. But he didn't follow the story, and found out yesterday from the newspapers how it turned out. Still he reassures listeners: Everything suggests that the motive was criminal. There is no reason to think that he was kidnapped because he was Jewish, and tortured to death because he was Jewish.
He adds: Now we are waiting for the results of the investigation.
But the interviewer says that they have had many phone calls to the station about this incident. Including a call from a colleague who informed them that three of the four known previous attempted kidnappings targeted Jewish men. Goldman says that the Jewish community should not panic.
News has filtered that one person-perhaps a material witness--is in police custody today, and is being questioned about the affair. No more information is available.
This gang has been operating since December. Reliable sources suggest they have been operating against Jewish targets. If the police, the media, and the Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive had informed the public about previous attempts to kidnap young men, most likely Jewish young men and, on at least one other occasion, a Jewish man working in a cell phone store, perhaps Ilan would
have been wary of the seductive young lady who made a date to meet him in the banlieue.
Report submitted by Nidra Poller