Could Strauss-Kahn case be a hate crime? - updated 5/19/11

Sheila Musaji

Posted May 19, 2011      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Could Strauss-Kahn case be a hate crime?

by Sheila Musaji

Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest in NYC on charges of sexual assault has generated a lot of controversy even before all the facts are in.  As head of the International Monetary Fund, and a possible candidate for the French Presidency, this is assuredly a high-profile case.

The WSJ has reported that already there are all sorts of speculative allegations and counter-allegations being made.  The article also discusses previous incidents involving DSK that had been met with only a “wrist slap”.

The AP lays out the known facts about the alleged victim.  She is an immigrant from Guinea.  She is a widow with a child, and has political asylum in the U.S.

And, this morning, yet another dimension of this case has come to light.  According to an NPR article  Though one can imagine the hotel management wringing its hands over offending a VIP customer, there apparently was no hesitation about reporting the alleged sexual attack. According to police sources, “there just was never any doubt.” When the police got there, “the whole staff knew.” The woman had a good employment record. She is a 32-year-old West African immigrant, a Muslim who wears a headscarf, a single mother and a “hard worker.” Sources said that just from her demeanor, the people at the hotel could tell she “had been victimized, and badly victimized.”

Even before the information that the victim in this case was a hijabi Muslimah, Marc Tracy in a Tablet article noted that the DSK incident was bad for Jews because his loss as a candidate for the French Presidency can only empower the French National Front.  “The FN is led by Marine Le Pen, daughter of the notorious anti-Semite Jean-Marie Le Pen, and she has refashioned her party to make it more acceptable to the mainstream.”  What Tracy doesn’t note is that this is also bad for French Muslims as the FM is not only anti-Semitic, it is also Islamophobic.  Strauss-Kahn is Jewish, and a staunch zionist.

I can’t even imagine how this case would be discussed if the religious identities of the perpetrator and the victim of this crime were reversed.

However, Ann Coulter provides some insight into how Islamophobes feel about this particular case.  Coulter sent out a tweet that shows that she at least finds all of this humorous.  Joe Coscarelli of the Village Voice reports that her tweet was as follows:  DSK’s accuser is a Muslim, he’s Jewish, so now DSK is claiming that he raped in self-defense.  This is disgusting, even for Coulter.

We will have to wait for all the evidence to come in, and for a court to decide the guilt or innocence of DSK.  However, if the basic facts are as so far represented, then I would have to question whether or not this attack might not only be an attempted rape, but also a possible hate crime.  It is at least possible that this poor woman’s hijab, rather than protecting her, might have provoked this attack.

UPDATE 5/19/2011

Strauss-Kahn has resigned from the IMF according to ABC News.  This same ABC News story also notes that:  Evidence in the case, including hotel electronic card key records and security cameras, along with police interviews, all support the victim’s claim of being in the room at the same time as Strauss-Kahn, ABC News has learned. She was in the room for perhaps as long as 15 minutes, and prosecutors and the alleged victim’s lawyer state strongly that there is no proof that anything that happened was consensual.

ABC reports that Investigators also say information downloaded from the suite door’s electronic card reader indicate the maid entered the room and never closed the door. The hotel policy requires maids to leave the door open when cleaning. The open door, they say, is proof that the women entered the room to work, not to engage in consensual sex.

There are claims in many news reports that DSK’s accuser might have HIV-AIDS.  However, her lawyer denies this.

The NY Post reports that  Hotel video cameras show the maid running from his room after the alleged attack, which occurred after noon, and into the maid service area on the floor, one source said. There, she called her boss, who arrived 10 to 15 minutes later, and then called another supervisor.

According to The Guardian, a French poll says that 57% of French people think that DSK has been set up. 

UPDATE 7/2/2011

According to many news reports it now appears that the entire case may fall apart because of inconsistencies in the story told by Strauss-Kahn’s accuser about the day in question, and about her past history.  At this point there is a lot of speculation on both sides.  Strauss-Kahn is now free of the very high bail terms and awaits trial.  He is no longer under house arrest and may travel in the U.S. but may not leave the country.

We can only hope that the court will be able to get to the bottom of the allegations and discover the truth of this case.  It would seem that neither of the principals in this case has a stellar record of integrity.  It appears that both of their pasts are “shady”, and because of that neither is particularly credible as a witness.  And, since they are the only two people who actually know exactly what happened on the day in question that will make it even more difficult for the court to make a decision.



DSK: Bad for the Jews: Alleged sexual predator may have empowered France’s National Front, Marc Tracy
French Jews React to the Strauss-Kahn Story, John Hudson
How Jewish is Dominique Strauss-Kahn?
I.M.F. Chief May Claim Consensual Sex as a Defense, William K. Rashbaum
In Defense of the Hotel Maid, Laila Lalami
NYC maid’s lawyer: Case vs. IMF chief not a setup, Chris Hawley
No anonymity in France for Strauss-Kahn’s accuser: Name of NYC hotel maid who says IMF chief attacked her is published in Paris
‘Put on Your Burkas, DSK is on the Way’: French Comedian Skewers IMF Chief in 2009, Susanna Schrobsdorff
Ben Stein Writes Bizarre Defense Of Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Jon Stewart on Bernard-Henri Levy and Ben Stein’s defense of Strauss-Kahn
Dominique Strauss-Kahn: IMF chief and member of Israel lobby group
Strauss-Kahn’s rape victim is a “devout muslim and a shy, hardworking West African immigrant”