The incident occurred two weeks ago but details only became known yesterday, says Le Figaro
, and the victim is still seriously ill in hospital.
A 45-year-old family man, Hamara Diarra was sitting at a table on the terrace of a bar in downtown Lyon drinking an afternoon coffee when he was approached by an individual who berated him for not respecting Ramadan traditions by drinking coffee before sundown. A witness to the scene said that Diarra replied that he was acting according to his personal beliefs.
The man left the scene only to return shortly afterwards in the company of “at least three people he knew.” The men then verbally abused him before attacking him violently, beating him with a chair and smashing him over the head with a glass bottle. Diarra was knocked unconscious and subsequently taken to hospital in critical condition, where surgeons had to drill a hole in his skull in order to keep him alive. The gang escaped in the confusion.
Police are still looking for the aggressors because although the attack was filmed by CCTV cameras the image quality was too poor to permit their identification. Lyon’s public prosecutor has opened an official investigation and the owner of the bar where the attack took place is said to be considering submitting his court witness deposition “under X” – anonymously – as he is worried about revenge attacks.
A spokesman for the Grand Mosque of Lyon condemned the attack, saying that “These individuals cannot claim to know what fasting practice during Ramadan is or is not.”
In Toulouse, further south, a young woman was violently roughed up and abused by two adolescents in a supermarket. They had seen her buying food and they too accused her of breaking Ramadan. She responded that she was not a Muslim, but a Jew, and they then began to berate her even more.
The scene was witnessed by a store security guard who did not intervene to stop the youths. When interviewed by police, he explained his lack of initiative by saying that he was respecting Ramadan so he was in a hurry to get home “in order to eat as soon as the sun went down.”