Wiesenthal Centre to Swedish Justice Minister: "On Anniversary of our Travel Advisory on Malmo We See No Reason to Relax or Revoke It"

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"The measure's deterrent success has obviously had no impact on the city authorities, who continue to turn a blind eye to the victims of any ethnic or faith community"

Paris, 13 February 2012

In a letter to the Swedish Justice Minister, Beatrice Ask, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, commended her "for keeping her commitment to the Centre by providing governmental funding towards Jewish community security in Sweden."

"Nevertheless," stressed Samuels, "we must note that hate-crime in southern Sweden, in 2011, has far from abated."

The letter pointed out that "police have registered a decline in Islamophobic attacks, but an increase in anti-Semitic, anti-Roma and anti-African assaults in a general context of burgeoning gang-shootings and allegedly race-related street violence in Malmo and the neighbouring university city of Lund."

Photo: L-R Dr. Samuels, Jusice Minister Ask and SWC Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper meeting in 2010.

Samuels continued,"Malmo police have noted 21 attacks on Jews, which are, according to the community spokesman,"often on people either arriving or leaving the synagogue." The Rabbi has personally registered 15 such instances. Roma have been threatened and subject to racist catcalls in the sports stadium."

The letter highlighted "the denigration of Swedes of African descent, which has brought racism to an ominuously new low, with a so-called 'slave auction' at Lund University. Three white students with blackened faces and ropes around their necks were reportedly led by a 'slave-trader' into a 'costume party' where they were 'sold'."

The Centre explained that "National Afro-Swedish Association representative, Jallow Momadou, reported the incident to the police, calling for an investigation by the University and prosecution of the perpetrators of a hate-crime."

"Not only did the District Prosecutor - who is also the region's expert on hate-crimes - refuse to file charges against a "costume party". Posters, depicting Momadou's face superimposed on a naked slave in chains, appeared all over Lund and Malmo. The posters were, allegedly, printed on the University Library computer

"On 26 January 2012, the Malmo so-called "controversial artist" and distributor of the posters, Dan Park, received a suspended sentence and fine. Harassment continues against Momadou and his family. Moreover, the prosecutor's decision not to press hate-crime charges - and the silence of local politicians - discourage other victims from seeking justice."

Samuels drew attention to the fact that "Malmo Mayor, Ilmar Reepalu, has made a plea for non-violence in the face of the gangs, but, once again, failed to mention the apparent taboo of hate-crime."

The Centre advised the Minister that,"as we reach the anniversary of the Wiesenthal Centre's travel advisory on Malmo, we can see no reason to relax or revoke it. The measure's deterrent success has obviously had no impact on the city authorities, who continue to turn a blind eye to the victims of any ethnic or faith community."

For further information contact Shimon Samuels at 0033609770158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.