A non-religious Arabic Israeli boy had received a kippa of his friend in Jerusalem. That friend had warned him not to wear it in public in Berlin because there he would be attacked. The friend could not believe that such a thing could happen in the so called free European Union.
The first day he put on his kippa and walked through the streets of Berlin he got soon attacked by a refugee who got asylum in Germany. He filmed it and got to hear that he was not the only one being attacked in Germany. That week alone it was the second attack in Germany.
Two young men wearing kippahs were attacked and insulted by a man yelling “Yahudi” or “Jew” in Arabic on April 17 in Berlin, Germany. The footage of the video recorded in the city’s trendy Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood went viral on social media. German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the attack.
German Jewish groups wanted to have Germans to know that it does not only stay to verbal abuse. On television we all could also witness how the Israeli Arab who wore the Jewish cap, or kippa, in Berlin as an experiment ended up being subjected to verbal abuse by three people and was lashed with a belt by a Syrian Palestinian. This Berlin incident is not just one event, but one of the many attacks on Jews in France, Germany and Belgium.
Religious and political leaders condemned the attack on two men wearing kippas in the affluent Berlin neighbourhood. Though many found it was not a right signal of Josef Schuster head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, to tell German Jews to avoid wearing yarmulkes on the streets after this Arab Israeli was assaulted for wearing a kippa last week.
Schuster explained that people should stop
“showing themselves openly with a kippah in a big-city setting in Germany, and wear a baseball cap or something else to cover their head instead.”
Such avoiding to have others to see religious symbols shall not help to have people living together in respect to the different believes. It is denying the right to people to show their faith and to live according to their faith. It is, like certain people in Belgium want, to limit the freedom of religious expression.
The rise of anti-Semitic attacks throughout Europe might be in line with a massive increase in Muslim immigration but it can also be found with the locals of many European cities, mostly in groups of right wing politic ideas. According to a June 2017 study from Johannes Due Enstand of the University of Oslo,
“Available data on perpetrators suggest that individuals of Muslim background stand out among perpetrators of anti-Semitic violence in Western Europe…Attitude surveys corroborate this picture in so far as anti-Semitic attitudes are far more widespread among Muslims than among the general population in Western Europe.”
Everywhere throughout Europe we see a tendency of righting groups gaining popularity and even neo-Nazis not afraid to come out with their ideas in public, some people even shouting Jews should go back to the gas-chambers.
I know of Belgian Jews who lived in a very nice neighbourhood in Brussels who after several treats last year decided, like many others, to go living in Israel, where they could feel safer.
For sure, such fear of being a religious person or to be a Jew, should not find place in the European Union. We all should be able to walk around without fear to be attacked by people who have found a place to live here too.
The awarding of this year’s Echo music prize to a rapper duo accused of reciting anti-Semitic lyrics luckily caused outrage and showed that many in the European Union do not want such anti-Semitic hate language or any form of racism taking place in the European Union. It was nice to hear several previous winners even returned their awards in protest and outed their disgust of such promotion of racist groups or honouring of racism.
In Berlin, more than 2,000 people participated in the so-called ‘kippa march’, a police spokesman said. Similar rallies were held in Cologne and other German cities.
Let us hope some politicians may see a clear signal that lots of people do not want to see a return of anti-Semitic horror and would love to find a community where many religious as well as non-religious people can live together in peace.
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