Teen Says He's Proud Of Attack On Jewish Man

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A 15-year-old supporter of ISIS said he was "proud" of attacking a Jewish teacher in Marseille, France, with a machete before his court appearance on Jan. 13, Agence France-Presse reports.

The teenager, who is an ethnic Kurd from Turkey, said he did not regret the attack, and a source close to the investigation told local media that he said the boy had said he was "ashamed" he did not manage to kill the 35-year-old victim, Benjamin Ansellem.

The incident is the third anti-Semitic attack in recent months to take place in Marseille, a port city in the south of France home to the second largest Jewish population in France after Paris. In October a drunk assailant attacked three Jews with a knife near a synagogue, and in November, another Jewish teacher was stabbed by people shouting anti-Semitic slogans and support for ISIS.

The teen was appearing in court on Jan. 13 to face terror charges. Prosecutors described him as a student with good grades who became radicalized after coming across jihadist websites. His family and those around him reportedly did not know about his involvement with radical groups.

The Guardian reports that the attack has raised debates over whether Jewish men should wear the kippa, a skullcap worn by men of the Jewish faith, in public. The victim was walking to work wearing a kippa and traditional Jewish dress when the attack occurred.

Similar concerns have been raised in France over Muslim women and girls wearing traditional veils, including scarves and chadors. In 2004, France passed a law banning girls from wearing veils in public elementary and secondary schools, and in 2011 the full face veil, which is only worn by a small portion of the Muslim population, was banned in France.

Proponents of these laws argue that they are to protect Muslim women from becoming the targets of attacks, while many, such as French journalist Naima Bouteldja, feel that their religious freedom is being impinged upon. "It is the worst case scenario," said Bouteldja, "[The women] are not liberated, they are imprisoned by this law."

Zvi Ammar, a leader in Marseille's Jewish community, urged Jewish men and boys to stop wearing the kippa for their own safety. "Unfortunately for us, we are targeted. As soon as we are identified as Jewish we can be assaulted and even risk death," he said, The Guardian reports. “It really hurts to reach that point but I don’t want anyone to die in Marseille because they have a kippa on their head.”

Source: AFP via Times of Israel, The Guardian, The New York Times / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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