Jewish leader advises against wearing skullcap

Jewish leader advises against wearing skullcap

The leader of Germany’s Jewish community has advised Jews not to wear their traditional skullcaps after several anti-Semitic attacks. 

Josef Schuster, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, said Jews should be cautious when wearing the kippah in big cities. 

He told Berlin public radio: “Defiantly showing your colours would in principle be the right way to go. 

“Nevertheless, I would advise individual people against openly wearing a kippah in big German cities.

“This is not only about anti-Semitism – it goes along with racism, it goes along with xenophobia. You need a clear ‘stop’ sign here.”

The “Berlin wears kippah” solidarity march is due to be held in Berlin today (Wednesday). 

Last week, a man in Berlin was filmed shouting anti-Semitic abuse while using a belt to assault two young men wearing kippahs. 

The head of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek, said: “Anti-Semitism, racism and hatred are great sins in Islam, therefore we will also never tolerate that.”

Germany’s Jewish population has grown rapidly since 1989 when it was below 30,000 but an influx of Jews, mainly from the former Soviet Union, raised the community to more than 200,000.

Osama bin Laden guard? 

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia says it was not possible to deport a former bodyguard of Osama Bin Laden because of fears that he could be tortured in his homeland of Tunisia. 

The 42-year-old, identified as Sami A under privacy laws, has been living in Bochum, western Germany, for more than a decade.

Two members of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the state legislature asked if Sami could be expelled but the government referred to a court ruling in April 2017, which found he faced a “considerable likelihood” of “torture and inhumane or degrading treatment” in Tunisia.

The state minister for refugee affairs, Joachim Stamp, said Sami would probably remain in Germany with his wife and children, who have German citizenship, unless Tunisia could give an assurance that the alleged ex-bodyguard would be treated fairly. 

Sami arrived in Germany in 1997 as a student and allegedly spent 1999 and 2000 in an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, where he received military training while serving as one of bin Laden’s bodyguards. He claims to have been studying in Karachi, Pakistan, during that period.

In 2006, the Tunisian was investigated for alleged links to al-Qaeda but he was not charged.

Sami is classified as a security risk and is required to report to a police station each day, Bild reported. 

The state government confirmed that Sami received €1,168 a month in welfare payments.

 

 

The Jewish cemetery in Worms, Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany. Picture credit: Wikimedia 

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