On the ground in Paris, France

By: Dr. Devon Smith, HSH Correspondent.

We sure hit the ground running on our trip to Paris, France. We are here for just a few short days to discover and investigate the rise of radical Islamic terrorism in what is largely considered one of the world’s most romantic cities. Our trip began with a one on one interview with Daniel Knoll. Daniel Knoll is a Jewish Parisian and just a few short weeks ago, he lost his mother in a horrific anti-Semitic murder by two men.

Mireille Knoll was 85 years old and suffering from Parkinson’s disease when she was stabbed 11 times and set on fire. She and her late husband had both narrowly survived the Holocaust of World War II. By some accounts, there were shouts of “Allauh Akbar” or “God is great” during the horrific crime. Her attackers, both in their twenties, were two Muslim men. According to Mireille’s son, Daniel Knoll, both men had criminal records and had met during coinciding prison terms. One of the attackers had even known Ms. Knoll since he was seven years old. According to Daniel’s wife, that same attacker had even stopped by a few days prior to the tragic crime to spend time with Ms. Knoll over a glass of wine.

It’s hard to comprehend how evil someone must be to carry out such a grotesque act on an elderly, defenseless woman. Daniel Knoll felt that neither of the men accused of the murder should have been on the streets in the first place. According to him, both men had extensive “rap” sheets and had likely been radicalized in prison.

Perhaps the most harrowing moment of the interview was when Daniel shared with us that the first thought he had, when he heard about his mother’s death, was of the Jew’s in World War II, burned alive by the Nazis. His mother met an eerily similar fate in 2018, in the center of Paris, France.