Malmo police see no reason to call JCC attack a hate crime

Malmo police see no reason to call JCC attack a hate crime

Critics say 'very strange' decision undermines government's claims it's fighting anti-Semitism

JTA — Police in Malmo, Sweden, said they had “no indication” that a recent attack on the offices of the local Jewish community was a hate crime.

The police arrested and later released two 18-year-old men suspected of hurling a brick and a large firecracker at the entrance of the community center’s offices on Sept. 28. The building sustained some damage, but no one was hurt.

“The suspects never said or indicated they were perpetrating a hate crime,” said Anders Lindell, a Malmo police officer and spokesman. He added that the suspects denied any involvement in the attack. The investigation is ongoing, he said.

Willy Silberstein of the Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism, a Stockholm-based NGO, said he found the decision “very strange.”

“When such incidents are not classified as hate crimes, it does not add to the credibility of government figures on anti-Semitism,” he said.

Sweden has approximately 20,000 Jews, according to the European Jewish Congress. Several hundred of them live in Malmo, according to Fredrik Sieradski, a spokesman for the Malmo Jewish congregation.

In 2011, the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention reported 190 anti-Semitic crimes in all of Sweden.

Some 70 demonstrators reportedly gathered in Malmo outside the JCC hours after the attack to show solidarity with the community. Hundreds are expected to attend a similar event on Sunday in Stockholm.

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