Spotlight on hate crimes in Sweden’s Skåne

Police in Skåne in southern Sweden have recorded 137 anti-semitic hate crimes in the past two years, according to an investigation by Swedish broadcaster SVT.

Spotlight on hate crimes in Sweden’s Skåne
Police outside a mosque in Malmö in Skåne. Photo: TT

The review of police work in the region reveals crimes ranging from offensive swastika doodles to threats, harassment and in some cases violence.

Between 2013 and 2014, more than half of hate crimes in Skåne’s biggest city, Malmö, were directed against individual Jews.

But SVT suggests that too few suspects have been prosecuted for the anti-Semitic discrimination.

Shneur Kessleman, the chief rabbi in Malmö told the broadcaster that he had regularly reported incidents against himself to the police, but had yet to see any criminals brought to justice.

“On the same day I had three, four incidents within two three hours, when I was out of town. It's insane. And then it can go a few months without anything happening,” he said.

The complaints about rising anti-Semitism in Skåne come as Jews around the country say they are becoming increasingly scared in the wake of the growth of the nationalist Sweden Democrat party and recent attacks on Jews and Muslims in France.

Stockholm’s Jewish Community 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 last week.

“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 added.

Police in the city have also reacted to the rising tensions.

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

Gothenburg's Rabbi has also experienced death threats in recent months.

Thomas Bull, who coordinates Malmö police’s hate crime unit admitted to SVT that he was not aware of any cases of verbal threats leading to prosecution in Skåne.

“Not for anti-Semitic crimes,” he said.

Police in the region insist they are working hard to tackle the problem, including keeping a closer check on vehicle registrations linked to verbal threats or occasions when thing are thrown our of car windows towards Jews.

But SVT reports that police only questioned three car owners when looking into eight serious reports of anti-Semitism.

A journalist working for the programme Uppdrag granskning donned a kippah as part of the show's investigation, just as The Local’s Patrick Reilly did a year ago. Click here to read his report.