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Saskatchewan Jewish Center Defaced with Neo-nazi Symbols

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The Jewish Community Center in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was spray-painted last week with swastikas and “white power” symbols. The Jewish community is annoyed but far from alarmed.

Walter Gumrich, a community spokesman, dismissed as “sheer speculation” the idea “that this is related to the Gulf war. That’s getting us into the realm of fear,” Gumrich warned.

On Jan. 25, three sections of the east wall of the building were sprayed in black, and a swastika was painted on a foundation stone. “But it is not a very professional job,” said Gumrich.

He said he did not know if this was the only incident of its kind in Canada, but in any case “we’re not that concerned about it.”

Gumrich recalled that a year ago the Bank of Montreal branch was spray-painted, one of the Catholic churches was defaced with satanic symbols and a lot of cars were spray-painted with “just anything.”

The vandals were eventually found, he said. They may have been people “having a good time. We don’t know,” he added.

The Saskatoon JCC and its associated synagogue, Congregation Agudas Israel, has nearly 200 members, which is a third of the Jewish population in this southwest Canadian provincial city of 73,000.

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