german jews propose anti semitism lessons for muslim migrants

German Jews propose anti-Semitism lessons for Muslim migrants


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Media captionIn April, a young Jewish man was attacked in Berlin

Germany’s foremost Jewish organisation has called for special classes for Muslim immigrants to help stop the spread of anti-Semitism.

Its vice-president, Abraham Lehrer, said many migrants were arriving from countries where “anti-Semitism is part of the rationale of the state”.

He said integration classes should be “tailored” by country of origin.

Germany has seen a large increase in asylum seekers since 2015, many of whom come from Muslim-majority countries.

The country is battling a wave of anti-Semitism, partly attributed to rhetoric from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents were reported in Germany last year, the vast majority of which were carried out by neo-Nazi or other far-right groups.

Mr Lehrer, from the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said that anti-Semitism among migrants was a problem which “still lies ahead of us” as migrants settle permanently in the country.

Many of these people were influenced by regimes in which anti-Semitism is part of the rationale of the state and the Jewish state is denied the right to existence,” he said in remarks reported by Deutsche Welle.

“When these people no longer just think of finding jobs and housing, this influence will have a greater bearing and people will express their opinions openly.

“In order to prevent this scenario, we need to tailor integration courses more closely to these people, preferably by country of origin.”

Mr Lehrer called for integration classes to assign hours of teaching to “fundamental values” such as democracy and the treatment of women.

But he also criticised the AfD party, saying it “creates a platform on which anti-Semitism can grow and manifest itself openly”.

He pointed to the party’s opposition to Jewish traditions such as circumcision and strict methods of animal slaughter for meat.

“The AfD is a kind of catalyst for various groups with anti-Semitic roots,” he said.

AfD, however, has denied any anti-Semitic views in the party, and opened a Jewish group within its ranks in October – a move which itself drew criticism from other German Jews.