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Macron Recognizes 2003 Slaying Of French Jew As Anti-Semitic

(JTA) — French President Emmanuel Macron said that anti-Semitism was the reason for the deadly stabbing in 2003 of a young Jew whose killer was found unfit to stand trial.

Macron said this in a letter dated May 20 to Meyer Habib, a French-Jewish lawmaker who last month wrote the president to request belated recognition for Sébastien Selam, a 23-year-old DJ who was killed by his Muslim neighbor, as a victim of anti-Semitic violence.

“Recalled because of the heinous killing of Mirelle Knoll, the memory of this young Frenchman who fell a victim to the darkest of fanaticism lives on,” Macron wrote. Knoll, a Holocaust survivor, was stabbed to death in her Paris apartment on March 23. Prosecutors said a neighbor and an accomplice killed her, partly because she was Jewish.

The memory of Selam, Macron wrote, is part of “our national community, which is profoundly affected by anti-Semitic crimes like the one perpetrated against Sébastien Selam,” Macron wrote. It was the first time that a French official recognized the slaying as anti-Semitic. However, this recognition is symbolic and will not be reflected in the judiciary’s records on the case.

A French court in 2010 ruled that Selam’s killer, Adel Amastaibou, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was unable to control his actions. He was released from a psychiatric institution earlier this year, in what Habib described in his letter to Macron as an “affront” to Selam’s relatives. Meyer wrote this on Facebook on Sunday.

Witnesses said they heard Selam scream immediately after killing Selam in northern Paris: “I killed a Jew, I’m going to heaven.” He later told police investigators about the killing of Selam: “Allah willed it.”

Amastaibou was a petty criminal who became a radical Muslim.

The labelling of some violent crimes against Jews as owing to psychiatric problems has provoked widespread anger among members of that minority in France, prompting some critics to call this a cover-up by authorities or the judiciary.

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