Skip to Content

Rose window of St Denis, Paris. Wikipedia

Muslim suspect in St Denis vandalism case does ‘not understand’ charge

The Basilica of Saint-Denis is the final resting place of the Kings of France. A suspect has been accused of damaging two doors, several stained glass windows and the organ of the Basilica at the beginning of March. The alleged vandal will be judged in May.

Published: April 14, 2019, 9:19 am

    Read more


    Le Parisien reported that a 41-year-old man appeared before the Court in Bobigny on Friday on charges of damaging the organ in the historic church. The hearing has been postponed until May 10.

    “I don’t know how I’m involved in this case,” the defendant told the Bobigny court on Friday. Suspected of severe vandalism, the 41-year-old man had been scheduled for an immediate appearance.

    When asked whether he would prefer to postpone the date of his trial to prepare his defence, as provided for in the procedure, he replied that he “does not understand the French judicial system”.

    He was arrested on Thursday at the detention centre in Vincennes (Val-de-Marne), incriminated by his DNA found at the Basilica. The suspect, a Pakistani national, arrived in France two months ago and does not speak French. He has already been cautioned by the law twice for having damaged property in February.

    Annoyed, the presiding judge suggested that “the situation is not very difficult to understand” and reiterated the question. “How can I explain if I don’t understand it?” he persisted.

    The judge then suggested that the Muslim suspect “deliberately did not understand” the charges. The court finally decided to postpone the trial until 10 May, and to place the accused in pre-trial detention until that date.

    A psychiatric assessment was also ordered.

    Saint-Denis is home to the royal necropolis of the Basilica of Saint-Denis and was also the location of the associated abbey. The site has been closely associated with the French royal house. Starting from Dagobert I (c 603 – 639), almost every French king has been buried in the Basilica.

    “Everyone is afraid of the 93,” one resident told The Nation, referring to the French numeric designation of Seine-Saint-Denis, home to numerous immigrant communities. Seine-Saint-Denis is the poorest department in metropolitan France.

    The suburb gained notoriety in 2005 when racial riots broke out after two migrant teenagers were electrocuted while hiding in a shed that housed a transformer to escape police pursuit. Black and Arab youths are stopped 20 times more often by law enforcement than French young adults because of their involvement in crime.

    The ensuing riots rocked France with thousands of cars and hundreds of buildings destroyed by fire, and some 6 000 people arrested. The government declared a state of emergency at the time, but 14 years later, the area’s bad reputation remains.

    A Muslim job applicant is now four times less likely to be hired, according to a 2015 study.

    Another study done in 2016, revealed that those living in a “priority neighborhood” —a category that applies to Seine-Saint-Denis — is 22 percent less likely to be hired as his Paris-based counterpart.

    In some areas of the department, 42 percent of its residents live below the poverty line, compared to 14 percent nationally. Unemployment, at 24 percent is more than double the national average, much higher that the 38 percent among youths.

    Patrick Simon, a demographer at the National Institute of Demographic Studies denounced this “racial discrimination” because it “complicates the system of inequality”.


    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    • abacus

      Surely they can find a guillotine that still works.


    France joins the race for a militarized space

    ParisThe militarisation of space is being intensified, as an area of growing strategic importance, given that the main arms systems, beginning with nuclear weapons, depend on spatial systems.

    Ex-General: Merkel has shaken the foundations of Germany

    HannoverA former Federal Armed Forces general Joachim Wundrak has accused Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) of undermining Germany's foundations.

    Italian regional court lifts docking ban on Open Arms

    RomeAn Italian regional administrative court (TAR) of Lazio lifted a ban on NGO migrant rescue ship Open Arms entering Italian waters on Wednesday.

    Ocean Viking takes more Africans on board

    RomeThe ship Ocean Viking cruising off Libya has taken another 105 Africans on board. The new arrivals are, according to information from the AFP news agency, exclusively men. Most of them come from Sudan.

    Europe’s energy under threat

    An ongoing Bulgarian legal circus is threatening Europe’s energy diversity.

    The amazing second life of migrant rafts

    BerlinThe inflatable boats of the migrants are transformed by a Berlin company into bags and tote bags sold on the internet... as fashion.

    Salvini mocks Hollywood actor’s intervention on migrant rescue vessel

    On Friday, August 9, the 69-year-old American Hollywood actor Richard Gere boarded a migrant rescue vessel, demanding that Italy stop "demonizing" migrants.

    Italy’s coalition government in tatters after Salvini calls for early elections

    RomeDeputy Premier and League leader Matteo Salvini on Thursday called for Italy to have early elections, saying that the coalition that supports Premier Giuseppe Conte's government has broken down.

    Salvini’s Security Decree wins final approval

    RomeDeputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's new security decree won final approval this week after clearing the hurdle of a confidence vote in the Italian Senate.

    SOS Méditerranée sends new rescue ship to the Mediterranean

    BerlinThe rescue organisation SOS Méditerranée has set out again for a new mission in the Mediterranean to pick up migrants waiting in Libya to come to the EU.

    Go to archive