June 29 2004
BRUSSELS – Belgium’s Interior Minister said on Tuesday that he is preparing new measures to crack down on racism and anti-Semitism.
Speaking after meeting with representatives of Belgium’s Jewish community, Interior Minister Patrick Dewael pledged to step up police controls in the city of Antwerp, following a spate of attacks against Jews there.
He also said the connected issues of racism and anti-Semitism needed to be looked at in as wide a context as possible.
The Jewish groups asked for a meeting with Dewael after an incident in Antwerp last week where a young Jewish boy was stabbed and seriously injured by a gang of Muslim youths.
The stabbing sparked large protests in Brussels and Antwerp with renewed calls from the Jewish community for the government to show ‘zero tolerance’ to anti-Semitism.
It also emerged on Tuesday that three more Jewish boys had been threatened in Antwerp on Sunday night.
The three were friends of the boy who was stabbed.
They were threatened by a gang of youths in a car as they left the hospital where the stabbing victim was recovering.
The gang members were thought to have been of Belgian not North African origin, the Belga news agency reported.
At first the Jewish boys believed the youths in the car were shooting at them, as they heard what sounded like gunshots.
But police said later that no bullets or shell casings had been found in the area and that the gang had probably threatened the boys with a toy gun.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news