WINDY CITY TIMES
||Paris Mayor Stabbed in Anti-Gay Attack
by Bob Roehr
The Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, suffered serious knife wounds to the abdomen during an assault Oct. 6. He was stabbed in the early morning hours while attending an all-night cultural festival in the Paris City Hall.
Delanoe, 52, is one of the highest-ranking openly gay elected officials in the world. He publicly came out in a 1998 television interview and was elected Mayor in 2001, becoming the first Socialist elected to that post. His sexual orientation has been a non-factor, until now.
The man held in the assault is Azedine Berkane, 39, who told police that he "did not like politicians and in particular did not like homosexuals." He has a police record for theft and assault, and was treated for psychiatric problems in April.
Berkane is said to be a devote Muslim of Algerian background whose family lives in a depressed Paris suburb. While there appear to be no immediate ties to radical Islamic groups, the facts of the case are likely to inflame tensions in France over a Muslim population, often second and third generation immigrants, that has not been well assimilated into the economic and cultural mainstream of the nation.
Delanoe lost a significant amount of blood and underwent extensive surgery of several hours for his wounds. While they are not considered life threatening, he is expected to remain in the hospital for at least a week.
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