Women in burkas walk along the old port on August 31, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Sener Yilmaz Aslan/Getty Images)


French 13-year-old girl ‘savagely attacked by teen gang for being a disbeliever’


A 13-year-old French schoolgirl was so severely beaten up by a gang of other teens she had to be placed in an induced coma.

Two days after the attack, on April 4 her mother said there was a religious motive behind the vicious assault and that her daughter Samara was targeted because she dressed in a “European style”.

The 13-year-old was set upon in front of her school on April 2 in Montpellier. The gang was said to have numbered 20 to 25 individuals.

Samara had to be put in an induced coma as a result of the brutal assault, from which she awoke a day later. Her mother Hassiba said her daughter does not remember the beating.

“She asks me to tell her what happened. She seems like an empty shell,” said Hassiba.

“She is still in intensive care at the hospital in Montpellier. I don’t know more about the cerebral haemorrhage she has, I’m waiting for the doctors.

“She was a little worried, anxious. She was scared. She didn’t know what had happened, where she was – she was confused.”

Samara’s mother told a local newspaper that 20 to 25 teenagers, all minors it seemed, were waiting for her daughter before rushing her, beating her, throwing her to the ground and violently kicking her.

Hassiba added that her daughter was then rescued by middle-school students and parents.

The gang seemed to have been led by three youngsters. The Montpellier prosecutor’s office took those three into custody on April 3 on charges of attempted murder of a minor under the age of 15.

One of the three, the alleged ringleader was a 14-year-old girl from the same school as Samara who has allegedly admitted attacking her.

The two others are aged 14 and 15, said Fabrice Bélargent, the Montpellier court prosecutor. One of the minors arrested was apparently known to the justice services.

Talking on the radio station Europe 1, Hassiba said the 14-year-old alleged ringleader was one of her daughter’s classmates who “had been making her miserable for a year and a half, two years”.

She said the student who bullied Samara was expelled from the school for two days in June last year after using social media to call for Samara to be raped, which Hassiba reported to the school authorities.

“It was this student who called for a gathering in front of the school, with the group of young boys waiting for my daughter. And from there, it was an onslaught of blows. They destroyed her,” the victim’s mother claimed.

Hassiba said the bully wears a veil, while her daughter likes to “wear a little make-up”.

“She [the attacker] called her a ‘kouffar’, which means infidel or disbeliever in Arabic. My daughter dresses in a European way.

“All day long, it was insults, she was called a ‘kahba’, which means slut in Arabic. It was no longer physically and psychologically bearable,” Hassiba told the station.

On TV network CNews, she added that the bully was constantly spitting on her daughter.

“She [Samara] even stopped talking to me because she was exhausted from recounting every week, ‘Mom, this happened, etc’. And then, at the middle-school level, sometimes we believe her, sometimes we don’t.

“But when I see the extent of this student’s actions, I’m convinced she premeditated my daughter’s murder,” Hassiba alleged.

She added she and her daughter are part of the same community as the girl. “I’m a Muslim, my daughter is a Muslim and we don’t understand this version of religion that these people have,” she said.

Bélargent stressed that “investigations are continuing in order to identify the suspects, to determine the motive and the exact course of events”.

Le Figaro claimed the school had a reputation for violence.

In a reaction to the attack on Samara, Collective Némésis, a nationalist feminist organisation, claimed that, contrary to what is often stated, it is not “Islamophobia” that is putting women in danger, but “Francophobia”.

François-Xavier Bellamy, who leads the European Parliament list for Les Républicains in the June elections, said: “Serious violence against pupils, teachers and headteachers occurs on a daily basis in schools.

“Our education system is going through an existential crisis but the denial [of such] has not stopped.”