Danish Jewish radio silenced ‘for security reasons’

For the first time since going on air, Radio Shalom Copenhagen suspends broadcasting; host refuses police protection

Amanda Borschel-Dan is The Times of Israel's Jewish World and Archaeology editor.

Hundreds of people gather for a vigil near the cultural club in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Hundreds of people gather for a vigil near the cultural club in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Danish Security and Intelligence Services advised the Jewish community to cancel its Radio Shalom broadcasts Monday.

On the recommendation of the Politiets Efterretningstjeneste (PET), for the first time since going on air, host Abraham Kopenhagen did not broadcast his mix of Jewish music and culture Monday evening, reported the Copenhagen Post.

Denmark is on high alert following the dual terrorist attacks Saturday in which a free speech protestor at a Copenhagen cafe and 37-year old volunteer security guard Dan Uzan were killed. Uzan was slain while protecting some 80 attendees of a bat mitzvah at Copenhagen’s Great Synagogue.

The terrorist, who was shot by Danish police, was identified as 22-year-old Muslim extremist Omar El-Hussein.

Kopenhagen told Danish-language DR Nyheder, “PET says it’s too dangerous. We do not feel that it is too dangerous, but we respect the information we are given.”

Kopenhagen reportedly turned down a PET security detail and said the station would resume operations when given an all-clear from the intelligence agency.

“We must do as instructed, but we will not have police standing outside the door. We would rather close down until it is quiet again. I do not know how long that will take,” he said.

PET’s offer of protection may be seen by members of the Jewish community as too little, too late.

Since the summer 2014 Israel-Hamas conflict, and especially since January’s Paris Hyper Cacher attacks, the Jewish community has asked the Danish government to step up security on Jewish institutions.

In January president of the Jewish Congregation in Copenhagen, Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, told the Berlingske daily, “It should be evident to the justice ministry and the police that there is a need for better protection. Therefore, we demand that the authorities review the situation.”

The small radio operation is located in a basement in the Nørrebro district, which is known for its large Muslim immigrant populations and for violent rioting in 2007.

According to the Copenhagen Post, Jewish day school Carolineskolen was also closed Monday. During Operation Protective Edge this summer, the school banned students from wearing visible Jewish symbols off campus.

Likewise, JTA reported that in 2012, the Israeli embassy in Copenhagen recommended Jewish tourists to not wear Jewish symbols or audibly speak Hebrew.

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