Expatica news

New attacks on Antwerp Jews

2 July 2004

BRUSSELS – Two more Jewish men have been attacked in the Belgian city of Antwerp, it has been confirmed.

The men were attacked in seperate incidents on Thursday evening, police have confirmed.

The first attack occurred at around 8 pm when police in the Brialmontlei district found a young Jewish man bleeding in the street.

The victim was taken to the Sint-Vincentius hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

His attacker, who is still on the run, was described as a man of Eastern European origin and the circumstances of the incident are unknown.

The second assault took place as a Jewish man, aged around forty, cycled in the streets of Berchem.

A group of around fifteen individuals began to attack the man with stones and bottles but failed to injure him.

No witnesses were at the scene and the perpetrators have not yet been caught.

Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel condemned the assaults and called for more initiatives to promote cooperation between immigrant and Jewish communities.

“This latest act of cowardly violence in Antwerp, where the sole motivation was that the victim was Jewish, is both despicable and unacceptable,” he said.

The violence follows a 1000-strong demonstration on Monday when the city’s Jewish community took to the streets to demand zero tolerance of anti-Semitism in Belgium. 

The protest was prompted by the near-fatal stabbing of a young Jewish boy by a gang of Muslim youths last week.

The latest attacks bring the number of violent acts in the last week against the Jewish community in Antwerp and the surrounding region to six.

Belgium’s Interior Minister pledged on Tuesday to introduce new measures to crack down on racism and anti-Semitism.

After a meeting with representatives of Belgium’s Jewish community, Patrick Dewael promised to step up police controls in Antwerp in a bid to stem the upsurge in violence.

Last week in Antwerp’s Wilrijk suburb, a gang of ten to 15 North African youths armed with knives and other blunt instruments chased four Jewish boys.

Three escaped but the fourth was trapped by the gang and stabbed in the back.

A spokesman for the Jewish community said the young victim had been lucky to escape with his life.

Another incident occurred on Sunday evening when three more Jewish boys were threatened by a gang of youths in a car as they left the hospital where the stabbing victim was recovering.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news