Half of Sweden’s Jews hide their faith: report

Half of Sweden's Jews hide their faith: report
Jews in Sweden are among the most likely in Europe to hide their religious affiliation, for example by not wearing a kippah, but the survey found that fear of anti-Semitism abounded across the continent.

Some 49 percent of the 800 survey respondents in Sweden kept away from brandishing their faith, the online poll by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has revealed. The EU average for concealing your faith was 20 percent.

The year-long study was carried out in France, the UK, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Latvia. While the report will be released in full in November, some of the statistics have been revealed.

The Local’s Patrick Reilly hit the streets of southern city Malmö earlier this month wearing a kippah, and filed a report of stares and taunts that has been picked up by media in Sweden, but also in Israel and the US.

RELATED STORY: Fear and giggles: A day as a Jew in Malmö

“It can be difficult for us others to understand the habits and strategies of curtailment that mark the life of a member of a persecuted group,” Carl Johan von Seth wrote in an op-ed on Friday in Dagens Nyheter newspaper, referencing The Local’s deguisement report.

“There is something in the Wallraff anecdotes that gets around that,” he concluded, referring to the techniques of German undercover godfather Günter Wallraff.

The new statistics showed that 27 percent of all respondents surveyed across Europe put the cause behind what they perceived to be rising anti-Semitism on Muslim perpetrators. Almost as many, 22 percent, blamed left-wingers, while 19 percent instead said right-wingers bore the responsibility.

“Preliminary findings already show that three-quarters of respondents feel that anti-Semitism has got worse in the past five years, particularly as concerns anti-Semitic comments and hate speech online,” the report authors said in a statement.

While Swedes have the option to report hate crimes to the police, in Europe overall, very few decided to do so. Only one in four cases ever made it to the report stage. Even when persecution became physical, 64 percent of victims did not report the violence to the police

Some 67 percent said that going to the police was pointless.

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