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ANTISEMITISME - Page 5

  • Paris butcher offers beacon of hope for interfaith ties

    As France deals with the aftermath of religiously motivated attacks, a small butcher shop in Paris employing both Muslims and Jews offers lessons on good interfaith relations. Elizabeth Bryant reports from Paris.

    A butcher at work at Boucherie de L'Argonne in Paris

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  • Paris Butcher Offers Lesson in Interfaith Ties

    Jean Aboucaya ponders over slabs of meat, laid out temptingly behind a wide counter.  The French Algerian has driven across Paris to shop with the guarantee his purchases meet Jewish dietary laws.

    “I’ve been coming here for years,” he says of the Boucherie de l’Argonne, located in the city’s northeastern 19th arrondissement.  “This is the best butcher in town.”

    It’s Friday morning.  In about an hour, the store will be shuttered.  Muslim employees will head to afternoon prayers.  The Jewish ones will prepare for Shabbat.

    “We work well together,” says Philippe Zribi, a Tunisian-born Jew whose family runs the shop.  Nodding towards his staff, mostly Muslims who, like himself, hail from North Africa, he adds, “We have a lot more in common than with other foreigners.”

    In a city still recovering from last year’s deadly Islamist attacks, and with news regularly peppered with reports of anti-Semitism, this kosher butcher under an abandoned railroad track offers a more positive face of interfaith relations.

    It also reflects the melting pot that defines the 19th arrondissement, where 200,000 residents represent no less than 120 nationalities.

    Jews, Muslims co-exist

    With an estimated 30,000-40,000 Jews living in the 19th, the district represents the largest Jewish population of any western European neighborhood, according to local Deputy Mayor Mahor Chiche.  It also hosts a sizeable Muslim population that mostly hails from North and sub-Saharan Africa.

    “There’s a real mix, both socially and religiously,” says Chiche, who is in charge of community relations in the 19th.

    Butcher Abdel Haq takes a question from a customer at Boucherie de l'Argonne, in Paris, Feb. 3, 2016. ( L. Bryant/VOA)
    Butcher Abdel Haq takes a question from a customer at Boucherie de l'Argonne, in Paris, Feb. 3, 2016. ( L. Bryant/VOA)

    “The older generation, who lived together in Algeria, Tunisia or Morocco, they know each other.  They speak Arabic, Hebrew and French, but the younger generation has a harder time getting to know each other.  More work needs to be done there.”

    Across the country, anti-Muslim acts tripled last year to nearly 400, according to France’s Interior Ministry.  Muslim associations say many more were not reported.  Anti-Jewish acts were double that number in 2015, although they were down slightly from the year before.

    “The first targets are synagogues and Jewish schools and centers,” says Sammy Ghozlan, who heads the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, a watchdog group.  “Now, with the army guarding them, of course there will be fewer attacks.”

    While official reports don’t mention the origins of the perpetrators, Ghozlan and many other Jews blame young, disaffected Muslims and, to a lesser degree, the far-right.

    Blaming community outsiders

    A new and unusually frank survey by the private IPSOS polling agency finds more than two-thirds of French Jews believe anti-Semitism has greatly increased during the past five years.  More than one-quarter of all French respondents said they had personally encountered insults and other problems with Muslims during the past year, according to the report commissioned by the French Judaism Foundation and published in a French newspaper Sunday.

    About 13 percent of respondents said there were too many Jews in the country, rising to 18 percent among Muslim respondents.

    Philippe Zribi (L) is seen with employees at Boucherie de l'Argonne, in Paris, Feb. 3, 2016. (L. Bryant/VOA)
    Philippe Zribi (L) is seen with employees at Boucherie de l'Argonne, in Paris, Feb. 3, 2016. (L. Bryant/VOA)


    But Deputy Mayor Chiche says Jewish-Muslim tensions have abated in recent years.  “In 2000, we had big incidents, like attacks on restaurants,” he says.  “Today, anti-Semitism exists, but you can walk around with a kippa [yarmulke] in the 19th without a problem.”

    French sociologist Michel Wieviorka says terrorist attacks have led to greater understanding among Jewish and Muslim communities.  

    “The real violence doesn’t come from the communities as such, but by individuals who are not part of their communities,” he says.

    A prominent French rabbi, Michel Serfaty, who works on expanding Jewish-Muslim dialogue, agrees.  Since the November attacks, a number of Muslim groups have been reaching out to him, he says.

    Coming together at Boucherie de l’Argonne

    Leontine Duobongo, from Congo-Brazzaville, hesitates over cuts at the meat counter.  Raised a Christian, she converted to Judaism a few years ago.

    The store’s kosher certification also draws many Muslim customers, Zribi says.  “Their biggest concern is for the meat to be properly drained of the blood,” he says of a custom also observed by Halal butchers, “and they know that’s the case here.”

    Meat is being prepared at Boucherie de l'Argonne, in Paris, Feb. 3, 2016. (L. Bryant/VOA)
    Meat is being prepared at Boucherie de l'Argonne, in Paris, Feb. 3, 2016. (L. Bryant/VOA)


    A native of Tunisia, Zribi moved to Paris as a toddler in the 1960s, joining North African Jews leaving their homelands after independence.  In the 1980s, his father opened the butcher's shop that Zribi now runs with a brother.

    During lunch breaks, the butchers sometimes share meals.  The Zribi family has installed a prayer room for their Muslim employees.  Conversations are sprinkled with the Arabic from their homelands.

    Mustafa Makhoukh, a Muslim from Morocco, has been employed at the shop for 18 years, a job he said he got “by chance.”

    “We have good times and laughs,” he says. “It’s like a family.”

    “Working with Jews isn’t a problem,” says Muslim butcher Abdel Haq.

    “We lived with Jews in Morocco.  When it comes to religion, each person has his own convictions.”

    Last year’s terrorist attacks also draw the staff together.  The shootings and bombings were indiscriminate, killing a wide sampling of city residents.

    Butcher Zribi lost two Italian friends during the attacks.  Haq says he lost nobody, but remains shaken by the incident.

    “The only lesson I can offer is not to be afraid of the other person,” he says.  “If I find myself next to a Jew at a cafe, we’ll talk.  We have to go toward the other.”

    VOICE OF AMERICA, Lisa Bryant, 3 février 2016

  • A Paris butcher offers a lesson in interfaith ties

    PARIS — On Fridays, the Boucherie de l’Argonne closes early. Its Muslim workers head to afternoon prayers. The Jews prepare for Shabbat — a practical accommodation for staff sharing similar roots and cultural references.

    “We work well together,” says Philippe Zribi, a Tunisian-born Jew whose family runs the butcher’s store that employs eight people: three Jews, three Muslims and two Catholics.

    In a city still recovering from last year’s deadly extremist terror attacks, where national news is dotted with reports of anti-Semitism, the store tucked next to an abandoned railroad track offers a more positive face of interfaith relations.

    With an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Jews living in the 19th arrondissement, the district is home to one of the largest Jewish neighborhoods in Europe, according to local Deputy Mayor Mahor Chiche. It also includes a sizable Muslim population that mostly hails from North and sub-Saharan Africa.

    “There’s a real mix, both socially and religiously,” says Chiche. “The older generation who lived together in Algeria, Tunisia or Morocco, they know each other. They speak Arabic, Hebrew and French. But the younger generation has a harder time getting to know each other. More work needs to be done there.”

    Across France, anti-Muslim acts tripled last year from 2014, to nearly 400, while anti-Jewish acts were double that number, according to Interior Ministry statistics.

    When a Kurdish teen attacked a Marseille Jewish teacher with a machete last month, some Jews opted to remove their yarmulkes and keep a low profile.

    “I remain pretty pessimistic,” says Sammy Ghozlan, who heads the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, a French watchdog group near Paris. Like many others, he blames the attacks on young Muslims and, to a lesser degree, the far right.

    Those incidents add to a broader, troubling picture of race and religion in France. A new IPSOS survey finds more than two-thirds of French Jews believe anti-Semitism has greatly increased over the past five years. More than one-quarter of all French surveyed said they had personally encountered insults and other problems with Muslims over the past year, according to the report commissioned by the French Judaism Foundation.

    The 19th has its own share of problems. The radicalized Muslim brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, who gunned down a dozen people at the Charlie Hebdo magazine before dying in a hail of police gunfire, grew up in the district. They joined an extremist network known as the Buttes Chaumont gang, named after a neighborhood park about a mile from the Argonne butcher store.

    The gang was dismantled a decade ago, and Deputy Mayor Chiche says anti-Semitic acts have abated to about a dozen yearly.

    But some experts believe November’s Paris attacks have led to a greater understanding among mainstream Jews and Muslims.

    Rabbi Michel Serfaty, who heads a Jewish-Muslim friendship association, says Muslim groups are now reaching out to him. “This is new,” he says. “They’re saying they can’t continue living this way, with misunderstandings.”

    The Argonne butchery, where a photo of the late Lubavitcher Rabbi Menachem Schneerson is pasted near the cash register, offers another example of relations that work.

    A steady stream of customers arrives before closing time. Leontine Duobongo, from the Republic of the Congo, studies the cuts. Raised a Christian, she converted to Judaism a few years ago.

    “My boss is Jewish so I became Jewish,” she says.

    The store’s kosher certification also draws Muslims who keep similar halal dietary codes.

    A native of Sfax, in southern Tunisia, butcher Zribi moved to Paris as a toddler in the 1960s, his family joining the waves of North African Jews leaving their homelands after independence. In the 1980s, his father opened the store, which Zribi helps run with a brother.

    The Zribis have installed a prayer room for their Muslim employees. They sometimes lunch together. Conversations are sprinkled with the Arabic from their homelands.

    For butcher Mostafa Makhoukh, a Muslim from Oujda, Morocco, the Argonne store where he has worked for 18 years is now “family.”

    “Working with Jews isn’t a problem,” agrees another Muslim butcher, Abdel Haq, who also comes from Morocco. “When it comes to religion, each person has his own convictions,” he says.

    November’s indiscriminate assault on Paris nightspots has drawn Argonne’s staff closer together.

    Zribi lost two Italian friends. Haq, the Muslim butcher, says he lost nobody, but remains shaken by the killings.

    “The only lesson I can offer is not to be afraid of the other person,” he says. “If I find myself next to a Jew at a cafe, we’ll talk. We have to go toward the other.”

    Washington Post, By Elizabeth Bryant 4 février 2016

    Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

     

    “There’s a real mix, both socially and religiously,” says Chiche. “The older generation who lived together in Algeria, Tunisia or Morocco, they know each other. They speak Arabic, Hebrew and French. But the younger generation has a harder time getting to know each other. More work needs to be done there.”

    Across France, anti-Muslim acts tripled last year from 2014, to nearly 400, while anti-Jewish acts were double that number, according to Interior Ministry statistics.

    When a Kurdish teen attacked a Marseille Jewish teacher with a machete last month, some Jews opted to remove their yarmulkes and keep a low profile.

    “I remain pretty pessimistic,” says Sammy Ghozlan, who heads the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, a French watchdog group near Paris. Like many others, he blames the attacks on young Muslims and, to a lesser degree, the far right.

    Those incidents add to a broader, troubling picture of race and religion in France. A new IPSOS survey finds more than two-thirds of French Jews believe anti-Semitism has greatly increased over the past five years. More than one-quarter of all French surveyed said they had personally encountered insults and other problems with Muslims over the past year, according to the report commissioned by the French Judaism Foundation.

    The 19th has its own share of problems. The radicalized Muslim brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, who gunned down a dozen people at the Charlie Hebdo magazine before dying in a hail of police gunfire, grew up in the district. They joined an extremist network known as the Buttes Chaumont gang, named after a neighborhood park about a mile from the Argonne butcher store.

    The gang was dismantled a decade ago, and Deputy Mayor Chiche says anti-Semitic acts have abated to about a dozen yearly.

    But some experts believe November’s Paris attacks have led to a greater understanding among mainstream Jews and Muslims.

    Rabbi Michel Serfaty, who heads a Jewish-Muslim friendship association, says Muslim groups are now reaching out to him. “This is new,” he says. “They’re saying they can’t continue living this way, with misunderstandings.”

    The Argonne butchery, where a photo of the late Lubavitcher Rabbi Menachem Schneerson is pasted near the cash register, offers another example of relations that work.

    A steady stream of customers arrives before closing time. Leontine Duobongo, from the Republic of the Congo, studies the cuts. Raised a Christian, she converted to Judaism a few years ago.

    “My boss is Jewish so I became Jewish,” she says.

    The store’s kosher certification also draws Muslims who keep similar halal dietary codes.

    A native of Sfax, in southern Tunisia, butcher Zribi moved to Paris as a toddler in the 1960s, his family joining the waves of North African Jews leaving their homelands after independence. In the 1980s, his father opened the store, which Zribi helps run with a brother.

    The Zribis have installed a prayer room for their Muslim employees. They sometimes lunch together. Conversations are sprinkled with the Arabic from their homelands.

    For butcher Mostafa Makhoukh, a Muslim from Oujda, Morocco, the Argonne store where he has worked for 18 years is now “family.”

    “Working with Jews isn’t a problem,” agrees another Muslim butcher, Abdel Haq, who also comes from Morocco. “When it comes to religion, each person has his own convictions,” he says.

    November’s indiscriminate assault on Paris nightspots has drawn Argonne’s staff closer together.

    Zribi lost two Italian friends. Haq, the Muslim butcher, says he lost nobody, but remains shaken by the killings.

    “The only lesson I can offer is not to be afraid of the other person,” he says. “If I find myself next to a Jew at a cafe, we’ll talk. We have to go toward the other.”

    Washington Post, By Elizabeth Bryant 4 février 2016

    Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

     

  • 2016 : On est toujours mobilisé contre le racisme et le nationalisme

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    Avi Biton, Mahor Chiche

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