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Home News Antwerp Jews receive death threats

Antwerp Jews receive death threats

Published on 06/01/2009

The Jewish community in Antwerp has received about a dozen death threats over recent days. They appeared on the website of the monthly magazine Joods Actueel.

Joods Actueel, a monthly Jewish publication which also has a website, received death threats by an anonymous man claims to be willing to sacrifice himself to avenge the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.

He threatened a suicide attack: "You are not safe. I know where to find you. Child by child," reads the menacing message with a slew of anti-Semitic slurs.

The editor-in-chief of Joods Actueel, Michael Freillich, was not planning to make the threats public at first. He changed his mind though after the arson attempt on the home of a Jewish family in Antwerp yesterday.

Attempted arson on a Jewish family house

Unknown persons shoved rags with lighter fluid through the mailbox of a Jewish family home and tried to light it. Luckily the fire did not catch on. The incident has been confirmed by the Antwerp public prosecutor’s office.

The perpetrators have not yet been identified, but the police are investigating clues. The Antwerp police are stepping up patrols in the Jewish neighbourhoods in Antwerp.

Jews and Muslims try to join hands calling for peace and calm

A Jew and a Moslim in Antwerp are joining hands, calling on their two communities to maintain the peace with each other.

Michael Freilich is editor in chief of a Joods Actueel. Hicham El Mzairh is Muslim and also a member of the Flemish liberal party.

The two men differ in their opinions on the conflict in the Middle East but they stress that protest here is not a solution.  They held a joint press conference, both calling on their communities to restore peace and calm in Antwerp.

"What we both share is our concern as inhabitants of Antwerp. We think it’s not good to import the conflict here. Unrest here will not help the suffering of the people in a dramatic situation in Gaza," says Hicham El Mzairh.

"Our first aim is show people that the Muslim community and the Jewish community co-exist peacefully here. We have a lot in common – we are all Flemish, we are all Antwerp inhabitants, on a lot of other issues too we have common ground – and it’s important to stress this," says Michael Freilich.

Agitation and tension came to a head in Antwerp at the weekend

On Saturday nearly 100 youngsters were detained by the police for questioning.

They attempted to take part in an unauthorised demonstration in the heart of Antwerp. The demonstration was in protest against the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

The necessary permission to hold the demonstration was not secured ahead of time.

Most of the demonstrators were youngsters of ethnic minorities. Two minors with Molotov cocktails were detained.