Sunday, July 25, 2010

Attack Against the Synagogue in Malmö Revives Threat Concerns for the Jewish Community.

In the early morning hours on Friday a large explosion was reported outside Malmö’s synagogue. The explosion is suspected to have been caused by a substantial firecracker and is seen as an attack on the synagogue. The attack can also be seen as a resurgence of the threat against the Malmö Jewish community.

Some minutes before 2am the night between July 22nd and the 23rd a big explosion was reported outside the synagogue in Malmö. Residents living close to the synagogue reported that an explosion was heard and there was also a very bright flash. Spokesperson for the police, Göran Billberg commented that the explosion most probably was due to “some kind of firecracker”, and did not characterize the explosive as a bomb.

The local newspaper Sydsvenskan reported incorrectly that no damage was done to the synagogue; in fact the explosion was so strong that several of the synagogue windows were blown out by the blast.

While the local police claim that there was no particular threat against the synagogue prior to the explosion, readers of this blog can easily argue that there is a general threat to the Malmö Jewish community. This is perhaps also why the local police decided to classify the explosion outside Malmö Synagogue as “vandalism” while the chairman of the Jewish community in Malmö states that the Jewish community sees the explosion as a “attack or an attempted attack” on the synagogue.

As reported by the local newspaper Skånskan, since the beginning of the year there has been an increased threat against Jewish families in Malmö. The feelings of insecurity and lack of personal safety are today so strong that some Jewish families have chosen to leave the city, or even to leave Sweden. Following the public outcry by the Jewish community in Malmö and the formation of a group to foster communication among various ethnic groups in the city, Chairman of the Jewish Community Fred Kahn had reported that hopes were that the situation now looked a little brighter.

Until now…

In an interview after this recent attack against Malmö’s synagogue, Fred Kahn stated to Skånskan’s reporter:
“We see this as an attack, alternatively as an attempted attack. This is not the case where somebody accidently happened to set off some firecrackers.”

The local police force feels that it is not necessary to enforce security around the synagogue although it is evident that the Jewish Community remains in a state of constant threat. How long the small Jewish community can persist under threat in Malmö while being forced to bear the cost of intensive security protection, and without the freedom to openly identify as Jews, is anybody’s guess.  Despite Mayor Reepalu’s belief that this is the Jews’ problem, evidence shows that violence is everybody’s problem in Malmö.

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