SHAFAQNA- By Yahia Hatim
On Sunday evening, two “European-looking” women stabbed two Muslim women in Paris after reportedly shouting racist insults. French police opened an attempted murder investigation after arresting the two suspects. The incident occurred on Sunday evening at the Champ de Mars Park, near the Eiffel Tower. The two victims, Kenza and Amel, were walking with two female cousins and four children when they entered into a disagreement with the suspects.
The argument quickly escalated and the attackers allegedly shouted racist and Islamophobic slurs before stabbing the victims. The youngest victim, Amel, was stabbed “multiple times” and underwent surgery, but is currently in stable condition. The second victim, Kenza, sustained six stabs that ruptured her lungs. She is still receiving treatment, but her condition is not critical, according to French media. The attackers are in detention as France conducts its investigation into the case.
The incident only came to light after a French internet user shared a video documenting the disagreement leading to the attack. He also shared a message reportedly sent by a victim’s sister.
“We have been victims … of racism. We are French of Algerian origin, veiled. We were a family of nine people, including four children and four women. We were walking in Paris when two ‘European-looking’ women attacked us and stabbed my sister and cousin,” the message said. The attack, which occurred two days after an extremist beheaded a teacher in Paris for reportedly showing his students caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, led to much speculation about its motives.
“Kenza and Amel, two women who have been walking in family, were violently stabbed in front of their children by two women because they are Muslim and veiled,” said one tweet. The publication was shared nearly 33,000 times in less than 24 hours. According to witnesses cited by Paris-based newspapers Le Monde and Liberation, the attackers called the French-Algerian women “dirty Arabs” before stabbing them. The suspects also reportedly shouted “This is our home” and “Get back to your country” during the conflict.
While witnesses’ testimonies suggest that the attack was Islamophobic, French security services are not treating the crime as such. “At this stage of investigations, no element proves the theory of a racist motive linked to the wearing of veils,” said a source close to the investigation, cited by Le Monde. The reason behind the disagreement, according to Liberation, is the suspects’ refusal to leash their dog. Citing one of the witnesses, the French newspaper said Kenza asked the attackers to leash their dog because it was scaring the children.
However, the suspects refused, leading to a heated argument that ended with the stabbing of Amel and Kenza. “This is an unfortunate and pitiful assault because of a dog, but there is no religious dimension to it,” Le Monde’s police source claimed. On the other hand, the Public Prosecutor of Paris announced that the attack was deliberate, but it is still unknown whether the religion of the victims motivated it.