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Report: Anti-Semitic attacks rising in Scandinavia

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(JTA) — Anti-Semitic attacks by Muslim extremists reportedly are on the rise in Scandinavia.

Jewish communities across the region have lodged complaints about the rise in attacks and the lack of official intervention, according to a report in Die Presse, an Austrian Internet publication, published on March 16.

Fredrik Sieradzk of the Jewish community in Malmo, Sweden, told die Presse that Jews are being "harassed and physically attacked." He said the perpetrators are "people from the Middle East," but was quick to add that only a small number of Malmo’s 40,000 Muslims "exhibit hatred of Jews."

In Norway, pupils have had yellow stars pasted to their backs by bullying classmates, some of whom have said that "all Jews should be shot." Teachers reportedly often don’t react.

In Copenhagen, Jewish pupils hide their Stars of David and remove their yarmulkes on the way home from school, particularly if their routes take them through neighborhoods with many Muslim residents, according to reports.

The blogosphere is buzzing with reactions to a report on Norway’s state-run TV on March 18 in which Jewish parents, their faces hidden from the camera, reported moving their children out of schools where they were being bullied, only to find the same problem cropping up again in new schools. Teachers said some Muslim pupils openly deny the Holocaust and complain when the subject of anti-Semitism comes up.

One pupil who reported that a classmate had threatened to kill him because he was a "Jewish pig" was told by his teacher that "this could happen to anyone."

Norwegian Education Minister Kristin Halvorsen has rejected charges that her highly critical stance toward Israel has encouraged an atmosphere in which Jewish pupils are victimized. She told Die Presse that "one’s views on Israeli politics have nothing to do with harassment of Jews."

The Swedish newspaper Skanska Dagblade reported that attacks on Jews in Malmo totaled 79 in 2009, about twice as many as the previous year, according to police statistics.

Some 30 Jewish families have emigrated from Malmo to Israel in the past year, specifically to escape from harassment, Sieradzk told Die Presse.

Jewish communities in Sweden number a total of about 20,000 members. Only a few thousand Jews live in Norway and Denmark.
 

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