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Berliners protest after rabbi beating

The Local · 3 Sep 2012, 09:17

Published: 03 Sep 2012 08:06 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Sep 2012 09:17 GMT+02:00

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The protest against anti-Semitism and racism took place near the scene of the attack on 53-year-old Daniel Alter in the western district of Schöneberg on Tuesday.

Alter, who attended the demonstration, thanked the crowd for the "wonderful outpouring of moral support" for his family.

"My cheekbone was broken but these guys did not break my will to stand up for dialogue between religions," he said.

Police have launched an investigation but made no arrests in the case.

A Berlin city government official of Turkish origin, Dilek Kolat, called for more vigilance in the face of what she called a rising tide of hate crimes and for a firm response to anti-Semitism from Muslim groups.

"We must act where we see racism and xenophobia," she said to applause from the crowd.

The Jewish community of Berlin's point man on anti-Semitism, Levi Salomon, welcomed support from local leaders, noting that Mayor Klaus Wowereit wore a Jewish skullcap late Saturday at an event showcasing the German capital's diverse religious groups.

"That was a good sign," he said.

During the attack, one youth smashed Alter in the face several times after asking him if he was Jewish, apparently because he was wearing a traditional skullcap, police said.

The four assailants fled, but not before hurling death threats at his young daughter, according to police.

The attack comes against the backdrop of frequent altercations on German streets over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and outrage in the Jewish community over a recent German court ruling against religious circumcision.

But the German Muslim coordination council (KRM) has also reacted against calls by the Central Council of Jews in Germany that it should do more to combat anti-Semitism.

"Muslims don't need a lesson," the council's chairman Ali Kizilkaya told Monday's edition of the Berliner Zeitung newspaper, saying that the council was already actively engaged in stopping anti-Semitism in Germany's Muslim community.

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"Anti-Semitism does not go together with Islam," he said, and condemned the attack on Alter. "Such an attack is an attack on us all. Society must do something against it."

On Friday, Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, had told the same paper, "I would be pleased if (Muslim) associations would finally deal decisively with anti-Semitism in their own ranks."

"Words and sympathy are nice and meant honestly, but deeds would also count," he said.

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:49 September 3, 2012 by ChrisRea
Very good! The Berliners have shown once again that they reject religious intolerance. Let's hope that the perpetrators will be found and punished.
15:50 September 3, 2012 by HungarianAmerican1975
Yes! Let's "diversify" Germany and all of Europe until it's filled with non-white who don't speak the language that each country was named after! Europe will pay a dear price in about 50 years for falling asleep at the guardtower...
16:54 September 3, 2012 by Zubair Khan
Islam has latent potential to arouse the religious sentiments of its followers. Muslims call it proof of being a living religion. However one hidden danger in it if these sentiments are aroused in wrong direction with incorrect interpretation of Islamic teachings. In the current incident the individuals involved, if are Muslims, then surely belong to the category whose sentiments have been directed to wrong direction and it is not a good signal. Faith is individual matter between human being and God and none has any right to pinch any one on this pretext. Muslim associations instead getting angry or showing annoyance should assess the situation very carefully and examine to detect if some dangerous element has not penetrated their rank and files. Germany is a peaceful country where every one enjoys religious freedom and this beautiful atmosphere can prevail only if all are contributing positively.
18:24 September 3, 2012 by sonriete
Yet again we hear Arabs and Muslims accused when there is no evidence either group was involved in this crime.

They state the criminals were "allegedly Arabs". says who?

An official of the city of Berlin points her finger at Muslims over this crime. On what basis?

So much talk of racism, sometimes one should remember that when you point your finger, there are three fingers pointing back at you!
19:32 September 3, 2012 by ITAMAR

the Jews in Europe may get attacked by two groups:Moslems and Neo Nazies.

this time the attackers were moslems.

the Rabbi was enough intellegent to understand the words of the attackers while they did it.

still it is not a reason to generalizze or to accuse all moslems in Germany, but unfortuntly the episodes of attacks on Jews from France to Sweden perptuated by extremie islamic youth is well documented in the last 10 years
19:38 September 3, 2012 by Eric1
Wait I thought Arabs were members of the religion of peace. There must be a mistake here.
20:14 September 3, 2012 by Englishted

No piece as in I 'll have a piece of him.
23:13 September 3, 2012 by ChrisRea
"the Jews in Europe may get attacked by two groups:Moslems and Neo Nazies." - typical preconception (="an opinion or conception formed in advance of adequate knowledge or experience, especially a prejudice or bias"). Is there any data to support this statement? Of course not.

And who said anything about Muslims? Arab (and it is not even sure that the perpetrators were Arabs) does not mean necessarily Muslim.
08:21 September 4, 2012 by C Robert
Far too many Rats
15:28 September 4, 2012 by sonriete
what has been reported in the press is that the Rabbi said the youths "looked Arab" and that the police issued statements that they were "thought to be Arab". If there is more to the information, they should report this in the media so we can all understand better what happened. Based on what I have read and heard . If anything, publicizing the facts could well help apprehend the attackers.

From what I have heard and read, other than ITIMAR's comment, the words of the attackers were cruel insults and threats but not anything that would identify them as Muslims or Arabs.

I think it is especially important to have all the facts straight here because it is not only racism, which is bad enough but also a mans face bones were broken and a 6 year old girls life was threatened, these people need to be caught.
10:37 September 8, 2012 by radical.islamist
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
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