AFP reports that the prosecutor in Reims said today that he is investigating three separate complaints of assaults and insults against Muslim women.
The prosecutor told AFP that a preliminary investigation had been opened after a veiled young woman was assaulted on Friday while crossing a park in the centre of Reims by a man who was “probably drunk”. The victim was hit in the face and wounded with a sharp object by her attacker, who had previously attempted to snatch her headscarf, according to her testimony.
The prosecutor is investigating two further complaints filed at the Reims police headquarters on Sunday: one for physical assault – a blow with an elbow – and racist insults against a woman wearing a headscarf that took place on Saturday, and another for death threats and insults towards two other veiled women, dating back to July 2.
“Within two weeks there have been three Islamophobic attacks in Reims, the last of which was a very violent one against a young woman of 18, and other cities are experiencing the same upsurge”, Abdallah Zekri, president of the national Observatory against Islamophobic Acts, a component of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, told AFP. He denounced the “repeated attacks against Muslims in France” .
The Reims prosecutor stated that all of the cases involved racist attacks but at the present stage of the investigation no connection between them had been established, nor was it possible to say whether they were carried out by an individual acting alone or a group.
In June, a woman of Turkish origin wearing a headscarf filed a complaint in Reims after being attacked by a youth who she said had insulted her because of her veil. Following his detention, however, the juvenile was released without charge.
“The indignation and anger rising in the community in response to these repeated cowardly acts repeat is not good for social cohestion” , said Zekri, who demanded from the judicial authorities “exemplary sanctions against the aggressors” .
See also “Islamophobie sur Reims: Une jeune femme voilée agressée”, Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France, 16 July 2013