Frightened mourners at Malmo Jewish cemetery get police protection


(JTA) — Swedish police posted officers at a Jewish cemetery in Malmo after mourners said they had been intimidated there by passers-by.

The alleged intimidation occurred on March 10 at Malmo’s Ostra, or eastern, Jewish cemetery, the online edition of the Expressen daily reported  Saturday.

Two police officers stationed at the cemetery saw two cars speed off as they were approached by police shortly after midnight, according to the report.

Police were called to the scene by a 59-year-old man who stayed at the cemetery overnight to perform a burial ritual and said he felt intimidated by several teenagers he saw in the area. The teens hid when they noticed they were spotted by the man.

The man was in a preparation room to watch over the body of his deceased brother ahead of the burial — a ritual known as shmirat hamet, or guarding of the dead. The mourner’s son also was present.

After seeing the teenagers watching him during the day, the man guarding the body, who was not identified, called police when he feared someone was trying to break into the preparation room.

“We got really scared,” he told the newspaper. “Instead of mourning in peace, we focused on what was happening outside. They’re trying to scare us and, sadly, they are succeeding.”

Malmo’s few hundred Jewish residents have come under attack in recent years from some members of the southern city’s Muslim population, which constitutes one-third of the city’s population.

According to Expressen, over the past two years, some 137 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in the Malmo region, a figure higher than anywhere else in Sweden.

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