Several recent incidents in Berlin have escalated tensions between Muslims, Jews, and the city's secular majority. Over a month ago, a rabbi wearing a kippa, or yarmulke, was beaten by four "Arab-looking" youths after being asked if he and his daughter were Jewish. Public outcry led to a large demonstration in support of Berlin's Jews, including a flash mob of Jews and non-Jews wearing kippot. Tensions escalated days later when a second incident, in which Jewish school girls were harassed by a group of youths that included a girl wearing a head scarf, led to an exchange of harsh words between Jewish and Muslim leaders, though in neither case were the attackers caught or identified definitively. After being advised to urge greater religious tolerance, Muslim leaders denied responsibility for the attacks and pointed out their own experiences of intolerance in the city.
Then on Yom Kippur, two more anti-Semitic incidents took place—the first when a young white man threatened a local Jewish leader and told him to go back where he came from, and the second when a mother and her daughter were forced out of a taxi after telling the "German" driver they were going to synagogue. Diedre Berger of the Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee has now intervened, asking the German government to develop an action plan to combat anti-Semitism.
Meanwhile, a contrasting alliance between Jews and Muslims has formed in the aftermath of a regional court ruling against circumcision.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Europe Germany * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam Judaism Secularism * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:00 am
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