People of Jewish ethnicity make up only about 0.7 percent of the population of France, but 0.7 percent is about half a million people, making this Jewish community the largest in Europe.
During the past few decades there has been a wave of Jewish emigration from France which is at least partly due to anti-Semitism emanating from the Islamic community.
Despite being such a small population in numbers, Jews are now the target of one-third of France’s recorded hate crime.
The latest attack, in which an 85-year old Jewish woman was stabbed 11 times before her body was set on fire, rocked France and has caused some reflection amongst the bien pensants.
Last Sunday an open letter was published in Le Figaro and Libération blaming “Islamist radicalization” for forcing Jewish families to flee and reviving “divisions in French society.”
The manifesto called for certain passages in the Koran which demand the “murder and punishment of Jews, Christians and disbelievers” to be removed both on the grounds of rising anti-Semitism and for being “obsolete”.
While Ahmet Ogras, head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith umbrella group, did intone, "The only thing we can agree on is that we must all unite against anti-Semitism," there was also some predictable anger from Muslims who said their religion was being unfairly "put on trial", and charges that the nearly 300 signatories, including ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, were “blaming a whole religion for the actions of an extremist minority.”
One Tareq Oubrou, imam of the Grand Mosque of the southern city of the Bordeaux, pointed out that Islam was not the only religion whose ancient holy texts contain anachronistic passages.
"Any number of holy texts are violent, even the Gospel," Oubrou said, adding that the signatories, who also included celebrities like actor Gerard Depardieu, had misinterpreted the Koran.
Ho hum. It must be a misinterpretation then.
But someone might point out to the good Imam that although there are passages in the Bible that could be interpreted as inciting violence we don’t act on them anymore.