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Graves of Muslim WWI soldiers vandalized

French President Sarkozy responded to attacks
April 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Vandals defaced the graves of Muslim World War I soldiers in northern France and left behind a severed pig's head at the cemetery, a prosecutor said Sunday. Vandals inscribed graves in the cemetery at Ablain-Saint-Nazaire with anti-Islam slogans and also left graffiti singling out Justice Minister Rachida Dati, who is of North African origin, Jean-Pierre Valensi, prosecutor in nearby Arras, told France-Info radio. He said 148 tombs were targeted.

In a statement, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the vandalism a form of "unacceptable racism" and said he shares the pain of France's Muslim community, the largest in western Europe.

"But this hateful act is also an attack on the memory of all those who fought in World War I, above and beyond their religions," Sarkozy said.

The Muslim section of the cemetery was targeted by similar vandalism in April 2007.


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