Attack on Jewish dancers raises fears


BERLIN (JTA) — Following an attack on dancers at a Jewish festival, Jewish leaders say they are worried about a possible upsurge in anti-Semitism among Muslim youth.

A group reportedly consisting mostly of children and teens of immigrant backgrounds threw stones at the Chaverim dancers from the Hanover Liberal congregation on June 19 and shouted "Jews out!" One dancer was slightly injured; the performance was canceled.

The stone throwers were mostly of Lebanese, Palestinian and Iranian origin, the Welt Online daily reported. Police have identified six suspects in the attack, five Arab immigrants and one German.

The city of Hanover has filed charges of slander and intent to cause grave physical harm. Reportedly it was the first violent anti-Semitic incident this year in the greater Hanover area that was not committed by neo-Nazis.

Charlotte Knobloch, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said the incident reveals an urgent need to combat "vehement" anti-Semitism among Muslims in Germany, which she called the "new social challenge."

Ozkan Aygul, minister of integration for the state of Lower Saxony, told Welt Online through a spokesperson that she was "deeply dismayed" by the incident.

The Jewish community of Berlin has prodded local police recently to investigate hate-filled anti-Jewish propaganda on the Internet, which has been on the rise since Israel’s interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla in which nine passengers were killed. 

Many educational programs in schools have been designed in the last several years to combat politically driven anti-Semitism among Muslim immigrants.

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