Reported anti-Semitic attacks triple in Malmö
Swedish police record 60 hate crimes against Jews in 2012, up from average of 22 in 2010 and 2011; 35 attacks in 1st half of 2013.
Sweden’s third-largest city, Malmö, has seen a near tripling of reports of anti-Semitic attacks, according to official figures.
According to the Sydsvenskan local daily, Swedish police recorded 60 hate crimes against Jews in 2012, up from an average of 22 in 2010 and 2011, and during the first six months of 2013, police reported 35 such attacks in Malmö, putting the city on a pace to break last year’s record.
About 30 percent of Malmö’s 300,000 residents belong to families of immigrants from Muslim countries, according to city statistics. Radical members of that population are responsible for most attacks against Jews, the Jewish community has said.
Malmö’s former mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, who left his post in February after 28 years in office, has blamed the rise in anti-Semitism on Jews and has advised them to distance themselves from Israel to remain safe, among other comments that he made in recent years that were widely interpreted as being anti-Semitic. (Jerusalem Post)
Port city 'no haven' for Swedish Jews
Attacks against Jews in Malmö, Sweden's third largest city, have left members of the community questioning their future in a place known for its multiculturalism.
Jewish people have lived in Malmö for over two centuries, often arriving in the south Swedish port city, a safe haven for generations, after fleeing persecution and intolerance in other parts of Europe.
But though waves of immigration over the past two decades have made the area more diverse, hate crimes appear to be on the rise and many people, paradoxically, say they feel less secure. Highlighting a problem many Swedes had thought long relegated to history, the US special envoy for anti-Semitism even visited Malmö last year.
Typically, but not exclusively, the perpetrators of anti-Semitic hate crimes are "young men with roots in the Middle East", according to Jehoshua Kaufman, a member of Malmö's Jewish congregation.
Around a third of Malmö's 310,000 residents were born abroad, with the largest minorities coming from the Balkans, Iraq and neighbouring Denmark. The total number of Jews in the city is estimated to be around 2,000, with around 600 that are members of its synagogue.
In 2012, 66 anti-Jewish hate crimes were reported, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. According to figures from Malmö police, 60 reports were made, compared with just 31 in Stockholm, with more than three times the population. Thirty-five have already been reported in Malmö so far this year. The figures seem to be on the up - in 2010 and 2011, a total of 44 reports were made over the two years combined.
The Sweden Democrats have sought to use the attacks on Malmö's Jews for political gain, framing them as a by-product of Sweden's generous immigration laws.
"It's clear that misguided skinheads aren't the major threat against Jews in Sweden today, but the imported anti-Semitism from the Muslim group," parliamentarian Kent Ekeroth wrote in an op-ed.
"But in Malmö it's the young Muslim guys that are the problem, that has to be said. They come from countries where there are racist, anti-Semitic TV programmes," said Barbro Posner, a member of the Jewish community.
In late 2011 and early 2012, five people were shot dead in Malmö in less than six weeks. At least some of the killings appeared to be linked to organised crime, prompting Reepalu to call for stricter gun laws.
"If we fail here, people will say: 'Look what happens when you bring in too many Muslims'," said Nerbrand.
Jehoshua Kaufman said the racism he and other Jews had encountered was not limited to just Malmö but simply more visible there than in places like Stockholm due to the city's compact and less segregated centre. (The Local)