German Jewish leader warns against wearing kippa in Muslim neighborhoods

Josef Schuster says on German radio that Jews mustn't succumb to fear, but should take precautions.

A man wears a kippa.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
A man wears a kippa.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The President of Germany's Central Council of Jews advised against wearing a kippa in neighborhoods with a high proportion of Muslims on Thursday.
Speaking in an interview with local radio, Josef Schuster said that observant Jews should consider covering their heads with less conspicuous headgear that would not so clearly identify them as Jews in potentially dangerous neighborhoods.
Schuster said that the potential for anti-Semitic attacks in the country had risen. He said that he could not have imagined that it would be necessary to give such advice five years ago.
While people should not succumb to fear, and security at Jewish institutions in the country is sufficient, precautions should still be taken in some neighborhoods, he added.
Germany's foreign minister said at an international conference on anti-Semitism in November that "hatred of Jews" was on the rise once more in his country and across Europe, fueled by spiraling violence in the Middle East.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany's Jews were subjected to threats and attacks at pro-Palestinian demonstrations, and the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza must not be used as justification for an anti-Semitic behavior.
As well as slogans like "Gas the Jews!" during some marches, in July at the height of the 50-day Gaza war petrol bombs were thrown at a synagogue in Wuppertal which had been burnt down on Kristallnacht - a Nazi attack on the Jews in 1938 - and rebuilt.
"Bold and brutal anti-Semitism has shown its ugly face again," Steinmeier told an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) event.
Reuters contributed to this report.