Belgium: More on the attack in Beringen

According to parliament member Claude Marinower, in a discussion in the Belgian parliament, the Turkish youth who assaulted the Jews has supposedly never met Jews before. They said they felt provoked by the traditional dress and appearance of the Jewish youth.

The Turks claimed they did not know the group was Jewish and that it was unplanned, simply a coincidence. None of them thought that their attack was more serious just because of previous Jewish history.

However, according to Marinower the Turks knew exactly who they were assaulting. They started off immediately by shouting anti-Semitic slogans and made the Nazi salute. About 20-30 people took part in the attack, with 10-12 being arrested.

The Turkish youth (all 18 and under) were given 30 hour community service as punishment (minimum is 20 hours) and will pay the damages caused. Should the Jewish group return to Beringen, they will also apologize. Their punishment will be carried out during the Christmas vacation, giving them a chance to finish their exams first.

Meanwhile, seven Turkish organizations from Beringen intend to meet over the incident. They intend to write up a letter to the Jewish community. They also intended to discuss it during the Friday prayers at the mosque. The organizations will discuss what happened and how to prevent it in the future. According to Ahmet Arkan, secretary of the Turkish Union of Belgium "It is impossible to judge such incidents ahead of time. It is practical jokes which will not be tolerated. It's a shame that also adults took part. The others are adolescents who think it will get them somewhere."

Sources: Belgian parliament (Dutch/French), De Standaard 1, 2 (Dutch), along with sources in the Jewish community

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