Anti-Semitism in Malm reveals flaws in Swedish …

Posted By on May 26, 2015

“A Jew, I cannot believe that you cannot be a Jew in Sweden!” says Siavosh Derakhti.

The 23-year-old Muslim is the child of Iranian parents, refugees of the Iran-Iraq war. He has become a champion in the fight against anti-Semitism in Malm, a town a little smaller than Halifax perched on the southern tip of Sweden.

Muslim immigrants, most with roots in the Middle East, make up nearly a third of Malm’s population.

Cultural tension in the town has been building for years, much of it directed against the new immigrants, but anti-Semitism has also been rising. The Simon Weisenthal Center in Los Angeles issued a travel advisory to Jews in 2010 don’t go to Malm. It reissued the warning last year.

Derakhti gets hate mail from the far-right and death threats from fellow Muslims.

“When we have let the world into our town, we have the political controversy you have in the Middle East,” says Anders Ekelm, vicar of the Church of Sweden in Malm. “Among those people you will find anti-Semitism. We have to be honest about it.”

Sweden has a generous immigration policy last year, this country of nine million took in 85,000 refugees.According to an OECD study citing 2013 figures, Sweden took in more than twice as many asylum seekers per capita as any other member country, and roughly20 times as many per capitaas Canada.

Masked protesters engage in a confrontation with police in Malm, Sweden. In recent years, protests for and against Muslim immigrants have been frequent and sometimes violent. (Drago Prvulovic/Associated Press)

In Malm the immigrants are concentrated in one pocket of the city, Rosengaard. Unemployment in the area runs at 70 per cent, stones are thrown regularly at mail carriers and police, and 150 cars were torched during summer riots in 2013. Protests for and against Muslim immigrants are frequent and tough.

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Anti-Semitism in Malm reveals flaws in Swedish …

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