Sunday, September 30, 2012

30-Sep-12: More questions without answers in Sweden

Malmo March 27, 2009
We reported here on Friday ["28-Sep-12: Malmo's beleaguered Jews have more to worry about this morning"] about an attack - evidently a bombing - on the Jewish community center in Malmö, Sweden's third largest city. It's the latest incident in a long and troubling line of them.

The Local ("Sweden's news in English") published a wrap-up on Friday evening in which it analyzes the attack from multiple angles. It  quotes Fred Kahn, head of the Jewish community in Malmö, saying the Jews in Malmö remain under threat (but not by whom) "and have suffered as a result":
"We need to heighten our security, but we don't have the money for things like that..." However, Kahn remained at a loss as to why Jews in Malmö appear to be subject to more threats and violence than Jews elsewhere in the country. "More attacks are directed at Jews in Malmö. I haven't heard about it happening in other places in Sweden.."
Truly a mystery. What on earth could be a possible explanation? Heaven only knows. Note for the observant: the only religion referred to directly or indirectly in The Local's report is Judaism.

The same article reports on a statement made by Lena Posner-Körösi, head of Sweden's Judiska centralrådet or Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities. She says (and we have not seen this reported elsewhere) that the local planning board has twice rejected applications by Malmö's Jewish community to install surveillance cameras on the street outside the building that was attacked:
"We've been rejected because they think it's a quiet street... Posner-Körösi said there was no doubt in her mind that the attack was motivated by anti-Semitism. "It's obvious when you consider everything that's happened in Malmö in recent years. It's unthinkable that it could be something else," she said...
Planning permission can be a tricky and dynamic thing in Sweden. Three days before the bombing of the Malmö community, a different Swedish planning committee approved a request from an Islamic group for permission to allow prayer calls at one of Sweden's numerous mosques. Here again is The Local:
The matter was put to a vote after Ismail Okur, chair of the Botkyrka Islamic Association (Islamiska föreningen i Botkyrka) filed a citizens' petition with the local council in January seeking permission to allow prayer calls at the mosque. He told Dagen that members of the association decided it was time they took steps to exercise their right to religious freedom in Sweden. "We've lived our whole lives in Sweden; we've paid taxes; we've been exemplary citizens; we've given a lot to Sweden," he said. "Now we want to get a little back. Now we want to have religious freedom."
While it remains unclear exactly when, if ever, prayer calls may be heard emanating from the mosque in Fittja, Okur of the Islamic Association welcomed the city planning committee's decision. "It's great! The prayer call for us is like ringing bells is for churches. It's important," he told Dagen. "There are more than 100,000 Muslims in Sweden. Shouldn't we also have our religious freedom?" Okur stressed, however, that the Islamic Association's initial request was to have a call to prayer once a week, rather than five times a day. "We have to start somewhere," he said.
Islam is the religion of about 5% of Sweden's population [source]. In Malmö, the numbers are more definitive, as we noted on Friday: about a fifth of Malmo’s 300,000 residents are Moslem immigrants, a large proportion of whom describe themselves as Palestinian, and most of whom, according to Wikipedia, are there illegally. Its percentage of Moslems is the highest in all of Scandinavia. Not that we're suggesting this has anything to do with attacks on the local Jewish community. We're too far away from events to be able to understand matters better than the locals (and The Local) do.

But we confess we're puzzled as to why - given a history of physical, life-threatening attacks on Jews and Jewish community property - the city fathers in Malmö think the security of the city's tiny Jewish community does not warrant something as harmless as security cameras. 

Three years ago, Malmö hosted the Davis Cup tennis match between Israel and Sweden. No fans were allowed into the stadium to watch the games for 'security' reasons. But as Reuters reported, some 6,000 protesters turned up outside the audience-less stadium and clashed with the 1,000 policemen on guard duty. Malmö was subsequently banned from hosting any further Davis Cup matches, and Israel defeated Sweden 3-2.

And by the way, Malmö is due to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013.

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