A French teenager inspired by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) has been sentenced to seven years in jail for attempting to murder a Jewish teacher.
The attacker, a 17-year-old of Kurdish origin, was sentenced by a juvenile court on Thursday, the Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed.
In January 2016, the teenager, then 15, assaulted Benjamin Amsellem with a machete and a knife at a Jewish school in the southern city of Marseille. The teacher was wearing a kippa, or Jewish skullcap.
The attacker injured his back and one of his hands, and the teacher fell to the ground, kicking out and using a copy of the Torah to protect himself.
President François Hollande condemned the “abominable and unjustifiable” attack.
After his arrest, the perpetrator told authorities he had acted on behalf of ISIS. The trial was held behind closed doors on account of his young age.
Prosecutors told Newsweek that the attacker will begin his sentence in a facility for minors before being transferred to prison when he turns 18.
In the aftermath of the incident, Zvi Ammar, the leader of the city’s Jewish community, advised Jews not to wear their kippas in public as he did not “want anyone to die in Marseille because they had a kippa on their head. ” His comments sparked debate and several Jewish community leaders rejected his suggestion.
The attack should alert authorities and force them to take more stringent protection measures for France’s Jewish community, the largest in Europe, according to Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress.
“It is very dangerous that some feel that this is the new normal for French Jewry,” he says in an email statement. “We hope that there will be greater protection for Jewish communities and that a strong message will be sent that extremism will not be tolerated and perpetrators of racial or religious violence will be given harsh sentences.”Monday, March 06, 2017