French rabbi, Muslim rapper to release song for murdered Jew

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A rabbi and a Muslim rapper announced the release in France of a song against racism that they co-produced ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the anti-Semitic murder of Ilan Halimi.

Coco TKT, a well-known rapper who converted to Islam after spending several years in prison for robbery, collaborated with Rabbi Michel Serfaty of Ris-Orangis north of Paris to perform the clip, which the two intend to release online on Feb. 13 – the date on which Halimi, a cell-phone salesman who was kidnapped and tortured because he was Jewish, was found dying in a field outside the French capital.

“A rabbi who goes to prison to look for a rapper who converted to Islam to sing with him for the sake of coexistence it a pretty crazy undertaking,” Coco TKT told the Le Parisien weekly, which reported on the initiative Friday. “But I think he was right: Rap can be the vehicle through which young people can be reached in France.

“Ilan Halimi is the proof that one must must act to fight against anti-Semitism and all that separates the people and communities,” said Coco TKT, whose real name is Julien Cocoa. According to the weekly, he was released last year from prison.

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“Rap is used to disseminate many negative messages, but it can also become a tool to reach young people,” said Serfaty. The 72-year-old rabbi and the 30-year-old rapper have collaborated in the past, and are both members of a non-profit Association for Friendship between Muslims and Jews in France, or AJMF.

Separately, the Haverim Jewish organization held a ceremony commemorating Halimi, 26 at the time of his death, on Thursday in a public garden named after him in Paris’ 12th district. Several hundred people attended the event.

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