Stabbing of Jewish woman in Sweden ‘not about religion,’ says suspect’s mom
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Stabbing of Jewish woman in Sweden ‘not about religion,’ says suspect’s mom

Man said to commit attack amid psychiatric crisis, was released from institution a day prior; prosecutor says understands Israeli concern over reports suspected attacker is Muslim

Police gather evidence at the scene of a stabbing in the Swedish city of Helsingborg in which a Jewish woman was reportedly seriously injured, May 14, 2019. (Screen capture: Aftonbladet)
Police gather evidence at the scene of a stabbing in the Swedish city of Helsingborg in which a Jewish woman was reportedly seriously injured, May 14, 2019. (Screen capture: Aftonbladet)

JTA — The man suspected of stabbing a Jewish woman in Sweden did not commit a hate crime, targeting her randomly amid a psychiatric crisis, his mother said.

The 29-year-old man, who has an extensive criminal record for assault, was released from 12 days at a psychiatric institution one day prior to the attack Tuesday in Helingborg, according to Expressen.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that the suspected attacker is Muslim in a statement widely reported in Israeli media, though this has not been confirmed by Swedish officials.

“I do not share the image that is spread in the Israeli media though I understand the concern and do not want in any way to downplay it,” prosecutor Linda Seger told the Helsingborgs Dagblad daily.

Screen capture from video of Swedish police at the scene where a Jewish woman was stabbed in Helsingborg, May 14, 2019. (Screenshot from Aftonbladet via JTA)

“This does not have anything to do with religion,” the suspect’s mother told Expressen. Neither she, her son nor the victim have been named. The Expressen report did not say whether the suspect is in fact Muslim.

The suspect delivered near-fatal blows to the woman, a leader of the local Jewish community, very close to her home on a busy street. He approached her from the back, plunging a large knife into her upper body. The assault was over within seconds and he fled the scene, police said.

The suspect then crossed the border to neighboring Denmark and checked into a local hostel, where police arrested him on Wednesday, according to Expressen.

On Thursday, a Muslim umbrella organization from Malmo condemned the attack. “Whatever the motive,” the Malmö Muslim Network wrote, “we Muslims know the insecurity such an attack can lead to for the entire Jewish community of Helsingborg.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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