Denmark: More on Muslim antisemitism

Denmark: More on Muslim antisemitism

This past weekend Jyllands-Posten published an article about Jew-hatred in the Muslim community in Denmark.

In response (BT), Pia Kjærsgaard, head of the Danish People's Party, demands that this hatred, which is creating parallel societies, be dealt with. The party warns that the Nørrebro neighborhood of Copenhagen is becoming a refuge for antisemitism. At the same time, Kjærsgaard criticized the Left, who turn a blind eye to racist attacks by Muslims against Jews.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog -

"It's completely proper to go after Jews. Nobody fights for them - and neither does the Danish Left, which hates Israel's existence. The silence of the Left is telling, because it's normally from them that accusations of racism and xenophobia fly through the air. But xenophobia is apparently OK, as long as it's the foreigners who hate.

Kjærsgaard wrote that she refused to 'understand' tolerance and hate, and does not want to see areas of Denmark being closed off to people based on their religion, sexual orientation or political affiliation.

The JP article is translated below, with thanks to Uriasposten for the original.

I translated it due to the political response, but I don't see much new in it. The latest 'major' attack against Jews was May 1st, and was mentioned in a previous article on this subject.

There are a couple of points, though, which I think are new.

1. According to data from the Jewish community, Muslims (Middle Eastern immigrants) are responsible for close to 75% of reported attacks on Jews. I don't know if that's only for Copenhagen or nationwide.

2. The police expect Muslim violence against Jews. In the case of Søren, they warned him not to approach the Muslim-heavy neighborhoods, and when he was attacked, the agents thought he was asking for it by wearing a Jewish symbol. But then, after the Gaza flotilla raid by Israel, a supposedly moderate Danish imam warned that Jews should keep quiet and should not show support for Israel if they know what's good for them. Nobody seemed to think that was unusual.

Star of David taboo in Nørrebro

More Danish Jews are seeing the discontent and hatred of some people against acts by the state of Israel transferred to them as individuals, when they sport their Jewish identity.

For fear of ending up in a conflict or worse - of being attacked - more Danish Jews are removing clothing or jewelry that can reveal their Jewish affiliation.

This is confirmed by the Mosaic Faith Society, which in its incident reports saw a drop of antisemitic incidents in the past year.

"Several times I've advised against wearing kippah or anything else - for example, in Nørrebro, because experience tells us that it can lead to unpleasant experiences."

And there are probably more who keep it hidden, says the chairman of the Mosaic Faith-Society, Finn Schwarz.

One of those is 32 year old Peter Kaltoft from Amager, who today keeps his kippah on the shelf.

He takes it out only on special events, or when he's in the synagogue on Krystalgade (Krystal avenue) in Copenhagen.

"When I wear my kippah, I don't only symbolize Judaism, but apparently also Israel, and that can be offensive for some people," he says.

Danish Jews are more vigilant when the conflict between Israel and Palestine flares up.

The last time you could see this was when an 18 year old man was attacked on May 1st in Fælledparken in Copenhagen, because he said he was a Jew.

This episode happened at the same time as the high-profile clash between the Israeli commandos and the Turkish aid ships, that were bound for Gaza. [Ed: This is wrong, the Gaza flotilla raid was May 30th ]

"There is no doubt a link between what happens in Israel-Palestine and what goes on in Denmark. When the conflict is sparked in the Middle East, the same happens at home," says Finn Schwarz, who has found that Jews all over the world are held responsible for the civilian losses that follow in the wake of the fighting between the Israeli army and the Palestinians.

Peter Kaltoft had been subjected to various scenarios.

"The most common is nasty harassment, where I'm spitted and shouted at."

He says it also happens that they drive behind him slowly in their cars, while they hurl abuse out the window.

Harassment, shouts and spitting

He was accosted several times during the month, until almost a year ago he decided to be more careful with his faith and head covering.

Peter Kaltoft remembers in particular an episode from a year and a half ago, when he was on his way home from the synagogue in Nørreport.

"I went home alone after I had been in the synagogue, when several Middle Eastern men came towards me. They were very agitated, yelled a lot of unpleasant curses and slowly moved closer and closer. First they asked if I was a Jew, to which I answered that I was, and then they began to beat and push, until I was able to run away," says Peter Kaltoft, who since the attack rarely shows his kippah or Star of David in public.

"It's isn't just a decision I've taken for myself, but also for the sake of those I go with. They shouldn't be attacked or harassed because I'm wearing a kippah," says Peter Kaltoft.

The Star of David was provoking

30 year old Søren from Roskilde can nod with identification to the fear and aggravating episodes.

Nearly two years ago he was attacked by 3-4 Middle Eastern men in a club in Nørrebro. They felt provoked by a Star of David which he had as a pendant on his necklace.

For almost two years, Søren was a customer in the club without any problems, but at one time there was again battled between the Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza, and the incitements to hate and murder of Jews flourished in the streets.

"They say that I had a Star of David on my neck and they came over and asked if I was Israeli. I answered no, to which they asked if I was a Jew. And then I said yes," says Søren, who was then told to find a different place to hang out, or he'll be killed.

Søren contacted the police, who advised him to keep away from the area for a while.

"I kept away for close to two months, but then I thought 'f--- no'."

"This is a free country. Imagine if you couldn't wear a cross in certain places in Denmark," says Søren.

But maybe he should have stayed away.

"You will die, f---ing Jew"

The boys from the club didn't forget Søren or the Star of David.

"I came in and there was an Arab man there who yelled and screamed at me. Then several of his friends came and they began to harass and push," Søren says.

"I tried to calm the situation by putting my hand on the shoulder of the group's leader, but I should never have done that. He exploded and slammed me a respectable one. I was bashed so much that I couldn't breath. Finally he held me in a stranglehold and said, "Now you'll die, you f---ing Jew". Søren managed to finally get out and was attacked again outside the club, after which the police showed up, called by a witness.

The agents stopped the violence, but Søren wasn't happy with their approach.

"They told me that they couldn't do anything, since I was, in a way, out for it, when I wore my Star of David round my neck in an immigrant environment," says Søren.

After a got a hospital report to document his injuries, the police took the case more seriously, says Søren. The attackers were never convicted, since nobody wanted - or dared - testify against them.

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten saw the documents in the case, which confirm the sequence of events.

Copenhagen Police did not want to comment on the case.

"It's almost dangerous to go with something that can identify you as a Jew. I'm not the only one - Jew's kippah are regularly spit on," says Søren, that after this unpleasant experience removed everything which can identify him as a Jew.

From Frederiksberg in Copenhagen to Vollsmose in Odense, Danish Jews are pelted with stones by angry Danish-Palestinians.

Also when going out at night, Danish Jews have been denied entrance to discos by Danish-Palestinian doormen, if they wore Jewish symbols.

The incidents reports from the Mosaic Faith Society and other scientific studies show that the instigators of the majority of antisemitic incidents have Middle-Eastern backgrounds.

New Danes responsible

Of the 189 antisemitic incidents of violent, intimidating or harassing character, youth of Middle-Eastern background were responsible for 138, says the Mosaic Faith-Society.

Peter Nannestad of the Department for Political Sciences at Aarhus University, is aware of this situation.

In November 2009 he concluded in a report that a large proportion of Muslim residents share a widespread skepticism towards Jews.

65.8% of five immigrant groups answered that you can't be careful enough towards a Jew. The report also said that 75.2% of the interviewees didn't want a family member to get married to a Danish Jew.

Additionally, 31.9% thought that there were too many Jews in Denmark.

Søren is a fictional name, since he preferred to remain anonymous. The editors know his real identity.

See also:

* Copenhagen: Joint Jewish/Muslim anti-racism initiative

* Odense: Muslims denounce shooting, Jews call for self-restraint

* Odense: Strained relations between Palestinians and Jews

* Denmark: 'The Jews are Allah's enemies'

No comments: