Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Rabbi Shneur Kesselman Speaks Out About Underreported Hate Crime in Malmö
One of those exposed to anti-Semitic hate crime is Rabbi Shneur Kesselman of the Malmö Jewish community. He states in an interview with Expressen on March 5th that “ever since I came here people have been shouting ‘fucking Jew’ and ‘heil Hitler’ at me.”
What is worth noting about Rabbi Kesselman’s statement in Expressen is that out of the 65 incidents in 2009, according to the Skåne police, three of these incidents were directed at Kesselman. Yet according to Kesselman, 15 separate reports were filed concerning anti-Semitic hate crimes aimed towards him. The worst incident involved someone trying to run him over with a car. Apparently, the authorities have a different method for calculating these figures, as the full number of incidents does not appear in the Skåne police statistics.
Another disturbing aspect of this case is the time it took before police brought Kesselman in for a hearing. An attack Kesselman reported in September 2009 was only dealt with in February 2010.
The most common anti-Semitic hate crimes have been graffiti or engraved swastikas or Stars of David on buildings or cars but there have also been several arson attacks on Jewish sites in Helsingborg as well as Malmö Jewish community.
According to Expressen, some of the most serious anti-Semitic hate crimes occurred in Northwest Skåne where a family from Helsingborg was threatened with death and a man later tried to run their car off the road. In another northern Skåne town a man is suspected of etching a swastika into the hand of another person with sulphuric acid.
It seems as if the police in Skåne lack the will or ability to protect the Jewish population of Skåne County from hate crime. This is especially evident since some Jews have resorted to leaving their Malmö homes and relocating to safer places. Rabbi Shneur Kesselman also comments:
“I hope that the debate on anti-Semitism in Malmö leads to taking hate-crime more seriously. The police must act with more force, and we need to create some sort of dialogue between those who threaten and those who are threatened.”
One must wonder what the actual figures are for hate crime in the Malmö area. Additionally, why do the authorities act as if minimizing the numbers is the most effective method of dealing with hate crime incidents?
[Hate crimes in Sweden are defined as: agitation against a group of people, illegal discrimination, homophobic crimes, violence and threats against elected representatives as well as crimes where the aim is to insult a person, a group of people or another such group of people because of their race, skin colour, nationality, ethnic origins, profession of faith, sexual orientation or other similar circumstance.]