France police arrest woman for saying Islamic greeting ‘assalam alaykum’

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A woman seen passing near a squad of police during the rally on October 13, 2023 in Paris [Telmo Pinto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

A French woman was arrested by police in the capital Paris this week after her neighbours reported her for using the traditional Islamic greeting with workers in their accommodation building, as tensions continue to rise over the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian resistance group Hamas.

According to reports circulating on social media, the unnamed woman was taken into police custody after her neighbour filed a complaint when overhearing her say ‘assalam alaykum’ – ‘peace be upon you’ in Arabic – to some workers in their shared building.

She was reportedly temporarily detained before later being released, with the judicial police officer defending their actions by stating that “with the current climate, we cannot take any risks”. That current climate the officer cited refers to Israel’s brutal bombardment of the Gaza Strip and the forced exodus of the more than two million Palestinians living there, following an operation by the resistance group Hamas into Israel-held territory last weekend.

READ: France bans pro-Palestine demonstrations

Since the renewed clashes began, Israel has imposed a complete siege on Gaza by cutting off all electricity, water, food, fuel, and aid supplies to the strip and has intensified its bombardment in order to push Palestinians further south to the Egyptian border – which remains closed – in an apparent effort to entirely clear the territory of all its residents, in what is being condemned as a campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Beyond the region into Europe and the wider Western world, however, the situation has subsequently led to a severe rise in tensions between individuals and elements that are either pro-Palestinian or pro-Israel and its occupation. As a result, there are expected to be an increase in Islamophobic attacks or abuse, such as this reported incident.

Reports of the woman’s arrest were confirmed by French journalist Widad Ketfi, and the victim’s lawyer Nabil Boudi stated on X that “the client in turn wanted to file a complaint for slanderous denunciation”, which his firm was required to deal with after the authorities “initially refused to take her complaint beforehand.”

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Disclaimer: France police arrest woman for saying Islamic greeting 'assalam alaykum' - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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