Two Muslim women were seriously injured in an apparent racially motivated attack near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The two female suspects arrested over the incident have been charged with attempted murder.
The victims, identified as French women with an Algerian background, were walking in a group of five adults and four children when they were approached by two dogs off their leashes. When they asked the owners to restrain the animals, they were attacked in a vicious assault.
The women were stabbed repeatedly by two other women of “European appearance,” who reportedly shouted “dirty Arabs” and “Go home to your own country” during the attack.
One victim was stabbed six times, suffering a punctured lung and injuries to her hands which required surgical intervention.
Two bystanders intervened and reportedly restrained one of the attackers until police arrived. The second suspect was arrested shortly after. The attack took place on Sunday night but police declined to release a statement until Tuesday.
The horrific incident comes just one week after the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty, 47, in a terrorist attack which shocked the country and exacerbated existing tensions within French society.
Paty was decapitated outside the Bois-d’Aulne school in the north of Paris, where he taught French and geography, by Russian-born 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzarov, in apparent response to the showing of depictions of the Prophet Mohammed to children.
France’s Muslim community, made up of some five million people, says it has experienced a rising tide of Islamophobia in the wake of the incident, which sparked mass protests in the French capital and a government clampdown on mosques and a variety of Muslim organizations.