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Manfred Gerstenfeld: Muslim anti-Semitism in Western Europe


Muslim anti-Semitism in Western Europe

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Tundra Tabloids, Feb. 20, 2013



European governments often avoid exposing Muslim anti-Semitism. In colonial times, Western racism far exceeded any other discrimination. With these guilt feelings, to accuse an immigrant minority group of having a high percentage of people who hate another minority – i.e., the Jews – is not done. This is the more so as there is also discrimination of Muslims in Western societies. Furthermore officially accusing large parts of the Muslim community of anti-Semitism could ‘upset’ social peace.


Thus detailed data on Muslim anti-Semitism in Western Europe is very limited. The few existing studies all point in one direction. In 2011 Mark Elchardus, a Belgian sociologist published a report on Dutch-language elementary schools in Brussels. He found that about 50% of Muslim students in second and third grade could be considered anti-Semites, versus 10% of others. It is logical to assume, in view of the age of these children, that their parents have imbued them with Jew hatred.


In the same year Günther Jikeli published his findings from the 117 interviews he conducted with Muslim male youngsters of an average age of 19 in Berlin, Paris and London. The differences in attitudes between the cities were minor. The majority of the interviewees voiced some, or strong anti-Semitic feelings. They expressed them openly and often aggressively.


In 13 Amsterdam trade schools a pilot project with Moroccan students was carried out about the Second World War and the Middle East conflict. The purpose was to fight their discriminatory attitudes and in particular, anti-Semitic expressions. The findings showed a decrease in such attitudes after the project. Before thirty-two percent of the Moroccans thought Jews were “as nice as other people.” Afterwards this increased to 50%.


A study in France in 2005 showed that anti-Jewish prejudice was prevalent particularly among religious Muslims. Forty-six percent held such sentiments compared to 30% of non-practicing Muslims. Only 28% of religious Muslims in France were found to be totally without such prejudice.


These projects and much anecdotal information uncover that anti-Semitism among substantial parts of Muslim communities is much higher than in autochthonous populations. As it manifests itself from a very young age onward, only the extremely gullible will believe that it will disappear in coming decades.


A second important aspect is that some Muslims stand out compared to autochthonous anti-Semites in committing extreme anti-Semitic acts. This is particularly clear in France. The 1982 attack on the Jewish Goldenberg restaurant in Paris was carried out by Arab terrorists from abroad. Six people were killed.


In this new century, Muslims living in France committed vicious murders of Jews. In 2003, Sebastian Selam a Jewish disc jockey was killed by his neighbor Adel Amastaibou. In 2006, a young Jewish man Ilan Halimi was kidnapped and tortured for 24 days and killed by a Muslim gang. Its leader Youssouf Fofana shouted when the court trial began in 2009, “Allahu Akbar.” (God is Great) Last year, Mohammed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin killed a teacher and three children in front of their Jewish school.


In 2009 during Israel’s Cast Lead campaign in Gaza, the largest anti-Semitic riots in Norway’s history took place in Oslo. All participants were Muslim. Attackers wounded a Christian who attended a pro-Israel demonstration. Life-threatening projectiles were thrown at demonstrators.


Sweden’s third largest city Malmö, is often mentioned as “the capital of European anti-Semitism.” The perpetrators of many physical and verbal attacks there are all, or almost all, Muslims. A record number of complaints about hate crimes in this city in 2010 and 2011 did not lead to any convictions.


In Copenhagen, all main assaults on Jews were perpetrated by Arabs. The Jewish community complained in vain about the inaction of the authorities. In 2012 Stephan J. Kramer, General Secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany said that the “willingness to be violent in the Muslim camp is comparable with that in the extreme right wing camp.”


Many European authorities must be blamed two-fold for their attitudes to the Jews in this matter. Firstly, they allowed immigrants into their countries in a non-selective way without examining the cultural differences, or considering how these people would be integrated into their societies. They should have known that actively promoting anti-Semitism was part and parcel of the cultures these people came from. Allowing them in unselectively can thus be considered an indirect type of state-promoted anti-Semitism.


Secondly, over the years it has become clear that while far from all Muslims are anti-Semites, a large percentage are, and from a young age. Some of them openly admit that they are willing to commit violent acts. Authorities in European countries have intentionally neglected to investigate this matter in depth. The non-selective immigration of Muslims has been the most troubling development for European Jewry in the last 50 years. This is not only the fault of part of the immigrants, but also of European authorities.


Manfred Gerstenfeld is a Board member and former Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (2000-2012).

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