(JTA) — A town in Guatemala has asked its Jewish residents to register with the municipality and warned that they face expulsion.
Approximately 10 Jewish families live in San Juan La Laguna, in the state of Solola, in a population of under 10,000, according to the Guatemalan daily newspaper Prensa Libre.
Misael Santos, a Guatemalan convert to Judaism who moved to San Juan La Laguna six years ago, told the newspaper that Jews in the town have been subject to verbal abuse and racist insults for the past six months.
Santos, who is also cited on the subject in a Facebook post on the Accidental Talmudist site, said he believes the town’s residents are wary of Jews due to lack of information about the haredi Orthodox.
“I put myself in their place and perhaps they are right to feel scared because before we were two families and now there are 10. And seeing us with our traditional dress, which is black representing devotion and humility, in the streets, may cause fear,” he told the newspaper.
Santos added that he believes someone is directing the abuse against the Jewish families, including putting fliers under residents’ doors with “misinformation” about the Jewish community, including that the Jews kidnap children and that the town would be overrun with Jews. He said windows of his home have been smashed by rocks and that a firebomb was thrown at his home.
San Juan La Laguna’s mayor, Rodolfo Lopez, reportedly was presented with a petition signed by 300 residents calling for the expulsion of the Jewish community and told Prensa Libre he would be asking the Jews to leave.