Last week the print version of Sydsvenskan published an article (not available online) by Bibi Häggström which stated that Malmö’s Mayor has decided to ask the government for help in the struggle to combat hate crime in the city. The article further discusses that the Malmö Jewish community currently spends about half a million Swedish kronor on Security. This is a huge amount for a community that has no more than around 650 members.
Last week Malmö’s Mayor Ilmar Reepalu (Social Democrat) sent two letters to Justice Minister Beatrice Ask in which he requested government aid for the Malmö Jewish community in respect to their extra security costs. Moreover, he also wanted the government to help the Malmö city government establish a hate crime unit.
In the letter to Minister Ask, Reepalu mentions that the municipality of Malmö does not have the legal right to aid the Malmö Jewish community in bearing the heavy extra expense for security; this, although the Jewish community has been exposed to criminal offenses which fall under the jurisdiction of the local Malmö police. Instead, the Malmö mayor now suggests that the national government should be the source of aid for the Malmö Jewish community.
It should be noted that the Jewish community in Malmö already has contacted the government regarding this matter, but with no result. Fredrik Sieradzki, representative from the Jewish community, notes that the community has some half a million Swedish Kronor in extra yearly expenditures for security. An additional sum of about 2.8 million Swedish Kronor will be invested in outer security. These are large amounts for such a small community.
According to daily newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad, Reepalu stated in a press release that “Hate crimes are threats against the open democratic society. This makes us very keen on combating these kinds of crimes.” He therefore wishes to get help with establishing a special unit of trained police, prosecutors and judges that can cooperate on the issue of hate crime prosecution. This cooperation would lead to prosecutions being processed faster than they are as of now.
Hate crime in Malmö doubled during the year of 2009 and the attacks on Jews in Malmö area have become more frequent as well. This is an issue about which, up until recently, Mayor Ilmar Reepalu has claimed to have no knowledge. As the city of Malmö has failed to protect its Jewish residents, one can only hope that the Swedish government will agree to contribute extra aid to the vulnerable Jewish community. In this way, the Jewish community will at least be able to ensure that Jewish visitors to the Synagogue and the Jewish centre can be protected from violent attacks.