Murderous Anti-Semitism from Fofana to Fofana, from Halimi to Halimi

April 19, 2021

Paris – The Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, recalled “Youssouf Fofana, as a self-declared antisemite and leader of the so-called ‘Gang of Barbarians’, who was sentenced in France in 2009 to life for the kidnapping, torture and murder of Ilan Halimi three years earlier...”


In 2012, he sent out from his prison cell 15 videos posted on YouTube. He is filmed wearing a keffiyeh, screaming against the Jews, while quoting the Quran and pledging fealty to Al-Qaeda...”


Ilan Halimi was 23 years old and worked as a salesman in a Paris suburb mobile phone outlet. He was kidnapped – erroneously considered to be “a rich Jew” – for ransom. Tortured for 24 days, he was left naked, scorched with cigarette burns and left to die next to train tracks.


Sarah Halimi was no relative to Ilan, but perhaps considered to be so by her murderer Kobili Traoré, who reportedly chose “Fofana” as his Facebook nickname.


Samuels argued that "the difference between the two Fofanas is in the treatment of their tribunals.


Fofana 1, with his 16 cohorts, got prison sentences, and a life sentence for the leader.


Fofana 2 was treated with kid gloves.


Held at a hospital facility, he is reportedly visited as a hero by his admirers who, pictured on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, are apparently wielding firearms, captioned, “Tomorrow at Bastille, we have to f--k these dirty Jews.”


                                                  Wiesenthal Centre at the "Justice for Sarah" rally in January 2020 

The Centre suggested that, “many of today’s French judges were trained by their forebears, fashioned by the 1968 Student Revolution, who taught that those today identified as 'Islamists', were in fact the victims of racism... therefore, this generation questions, ‘how can they have become the perpetrators of hatred today?’”


"A banality would suggest that, although both Fofana's antisemitic murders were accepted to have been premeditated, Fofana No.1 went to jail as he and his co-conspirators “never inhaled drugs,” concluded Samuels.

For further information, contact Shimon Samuels at, join the Center on Facebook, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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