How did the picture of Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish man who was brutally murdered several
years ago in France, appear in an advertisement for an online Muslim Canadian dating service?
A French blogging site reported Wednesday that Halimi's picture was given to a Canadian dating website through Google's advertisement database, Google AdSense.
Halimi was kidnapped and tortured for three weeks before his body was found naked and bound with handcuffs near the train tracks in a suburb of Paris in February 2006.
One of the writers for a French blogging website was shocked when he accidentally came across a picture of the slain French Jew on an advertisement for the dating website Qiran.com, which caters to new Muslim immigrants to Canada.
Apparently, the advertisement appeared in several other sites, such as the daily French newspaper France Soir.
The French site immediately contacted the Canadian website management, which admitted to the unfortunate mistake and promptly removed the advertisement.
In a later statement, the Canadian website expressed "deep sorrow" for the pain it had inflicted on the Halimi family following the incident.
Were not aware of the terrible story behind the smiling face
The website management explained that the picture was taken from a profile page of one of the site's users. The owners of the site are granted permission by the subscribers to use their profile pictures in advertisement materials. Those who picked Halimi's picture were not aware of the terrible story behind his smiling face.
A Google spokesperson further explained that these advertisements are automatically published in most cases, and do not go through manual screening.
"For me, this is absolutely aweful," Ruth Halimi, Ilan's mother, told Ynet after she heard of the terrible mistake.
"As if he hasn't suffered enough already, now they will not let him rest in peace. Why? Why? Because he is Jewish? It is awful and very painful for me," she said.
Halimi added that her son's name has become commercialized: "Ilan has become a brand name, a symbol. It's like a balloon that has been inflated and I have no control over it any longer. Many associations in Paris use his name in order to collect donations.
"People ask me why I don't raise money myself, but I just want him to rest in peace, " said Halimi.