Muslim anti-Semitism in Western Europe
By MANFRED GERSTENFELD
Over the years it has become clear that while far from all Muslims are anti-Semites, a large percentage are, and from a young age.
Detailed data on Muslim anti-Semitism in Western Europe is very limited. The few
existing studies all point in one direction.
In 2011 Mark Elchardus, a
Belgian sociologist, published a report on Dutch-language elementary schools in
Brussels. He found that about 50 percent of Muslim students in second and third
grade could be considered anti-Semites, versus 10% of others. It is logical to
assume, in view of the age of these children, that their parents have imbued
them with Jew-hatred.
In the same year Günther Jikeli published his
findings from the 117 interviews he conducted with Muslim male youngsters
(average age 19) in Berlin, Paris and London. The differences in attitudes
between the cities were minor. The majority of the interviewees voiced some, or
strong anti-Semitic feelings. They expressed them openly and often
In 13 Amsterdam trade schools a pilot project with Moroccan
students was carried out about the Second World War and the Middle East
The purpose was to fight discriminatory attitudes and in
particular, anti-Semitic expressions.
The findings showed a decrease in
such attitudes after the project. Before, 32% of the Moroccans thought Jews were
“as nice as other people.” Afterwards this increased to 50%.
A study in
France in 2005 showed that anti- Jewish prejudice was prevalent particularly
among religious Muslims. Forty-six percent held such sentiments compared to 30%
of non-practicing Muslims. Only 28% of religious Muslims in France were found to
be totally without such prejudice.
These projects and much anecdotal
information reveal that anti-Semitism among substantial parts of European Muslim
communities is much higher than in autochthonous populations.
manifests itself from a very young age, only the extremely gullible can believe
it will disappear in coming decades.
A second important aspect is that
some Muslims stand out compared to autochthonous anti- Semites in committing
extreme anti-Semitic acts. This is particularly clear in France. The 1982 attack
on the Jewish Goldenberg restaurant in Paris was carried out by Arab terrorists
from abroad. Six people were killed.
In 2003, Sebastian Selam, a Jewish
disc jockey, was killed by his neighbor Adel Amastaibou. In 2006, a young Jewish
man, Ilan Halimi, was kidnapped and tortured for 24 days before being murdered
by a Muslim gang. Its leader Youssouf Fofana shouted “Allahu Akbar,” “God is
Great,” when the court trial began in 2009. Last year, Mohammed Merah, a
Frenchman of Algerian origin, killed a teacher and three children in front of
their Jewish school.
In 2009, during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in
Gaza, the largest anti-Semitic riots in Norway’s history took place in Oslo. All
participants were Muslim. Attackers wounded a Christian who attended a
pro-Israel demonstration. Lifethreatening projectiles were thrown at
Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö, is often mentioned as
“the capital of European anti- Semitism.” The perpetrators of many physical and
verbal attacks there are all, or almost all, Muslims. A record number of
complaints about hate crimes in this city in 2010 and 2011 did not lead to any
In Copenhagen, all main assaults on Jews were perpetrated by
Arabs. The Jewish community complained in vain about the inaction of the
authorities. In 2012, Stephan J. Kramer, General Secretary of the Central
Council of Jews in Germany, said that the “willingness to be violent in the
Muslim camp is comparable with that in the extreme right-wing camp.”
European authorities must be blamed two-fold for their attitudes on this matter.
Firstly, they allowed immigrants into their countries in a non-selective way
without taking into account the cultural differences, or considering how these
people would be integrated into their societies. They should have known that
actively promoting anti-Semitism was part and parcel of the cultures these
people came from. Allowing them in unselectively can thus be considered an
indirect type of state-promoted anti-Semitism.
Secondly, over the years
it has become clear that while far from all Muslims are anti-Semites, a large
percentage are, and from a young age.
Some of them openly admit that they
are willing to commit violent acts. Authorities in European countries have
intentionally neglected to investigate this matter in depth. The non-selective
immigration of Muslims has been the most troubling development for European
Jewry in the past 50 years. This is not only the fault of part of the
immigrants, but also of European authorities.
The writer is a board
member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
(2000-2012). He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) of the
Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.