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Islamists target Swedish Jews after Paris attacks

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Lena Posner Körösi, head of the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities. Photo: Leif R Jansson/Scanpix
16:55 CET+01:00
Jews in Sweden have received numerous threats from Islamic groups in the days since the terror attacks in Paris that left 17 people dead, the head of the Jewish council told The Local.

Stockholm’s Jewish Community has received the bulk of the threats and has beefed up security at its premises across the capital in response.

“We have received emails and letters from Islamists containing threats. The police and security services have raised the threat level accordingly,” Jewish council chairwoman Lena Posner Körösi told The Local.

“What we don’t know is whether these threats are from people linked to groups like al-Qaeda or Isis or if they are copycats.”

She later told news agency AFP that threats against Jews has "at least doubled" in Sweden.

Police in the city have also reacted to the threats.

“We currently have increased surveillance at some ten properties in central Stockholm where Jewish activities take place,” Fredrik Näslund from Stockholm Police told television network SVT.  

The Jewish Community in Stockholm was already on high alert after receiving two bomb threats last summer. The group operates synagogues, a library, a community centre, and a school, along with a range of other activities and events.  

Jewish groups in Malmö and Gothenburg have also seen an upsurge in threats in recent days after four Jews were shot dead by a French jihadist in a kosher supermarket in Paris.

“Until today hardly anyone in Sweden has said a word about the anti-Semitic nature of those attacks,” said Posner Körösi, adding that the media had devoted plenty of coverage to threats against Muslims.  

“That has made me absolutely furious. Of course I have sympathy for Muslims being targeted who have nothing to do with these attacks. However, it’s a problem for our democracy if journalists and politicians can’t keep two thoughts in their head at the same time.”

Paris attacks: Knock-on effects across Europe

Many Jews have left Malmö for Stockholm in recent years, often because they haven’t felt safe in the southern city. But Lena Posner Körösi said she did not expect increased threats to prompt Jews to flee Sweden.

“Where are we going to go? Hatred has no borders. We were born and raised in Sweden. We are Swedes and we’ll get through this together.”

She also commented on remarks made about Swedish Jews by Björn Söder, a Sweden Democrat and deputy parliamentary speaker.

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In an interview last month with Dagens Nyheter, Söder said: “I think most people with Jewish origins who have become Swedish have left behind their Jewish identity.”

Lena Posner Körösi labelled the Sweden Democrat “a coward” for seeking to distance himself from the remarks.

“The majority of people in Sweden reject his comments and ideology. This mean we don’t feel alone.” 

SEE ALSO:  Gothenburg rabbi reacts to death threats 

For the latest reaction and analysis on the Paris terror attacks, check out our sister site The Local France

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