In July, a man in Malmo was assaulted after hanging an Israeli flag from his window. The man reportedly exchanged words with men on the street after his window had been smashed. He was assaulted by 10 men with iron pipes. The police did not make any arrests but classified the case as an aggravated assault and a hate crime.
In August unknown men attacked a Malmo rabbi. The attackers drove up beside him, screamed obscenities about Jews, and threw a bottle towards him. The incident occurred when the rabbi was on his way home from the synagogue at night. A few hours earlier someone else, also in a passing car, threw a lighter towards the rabbi when he was on his way to the synagogue. The attack was reported to the police and classified as a suspected hate crime and assault.
Several prominent politicians condemned anti-Semitic violence. They participated in kippa (yarmulke) walks against anti-Semitism, in which Jews and non-Jews wore Jewish symbols, organized by the Jewish communities in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmo.
In September the DO reported receiving 90 complaints during the year related to religion and religious beliefs. This compared to 108 complaints for all of 2013.
The government’s National Council for Crime Prevention (NCCP) stated crimes against persons and damage to property, including graffiti, were the most common offenses related to religion. The NCCP reported most crimes deemed to be anti-Islamic hate crimes were either harassment against veiled women or hate speech. According to the United Islamic Association of Sweden, mosques had become targets where Muslims were subjected to hatred and prejudice. There were reports of mosques covered in anti-Islamic graffiti and broken windows.
The NCCP hate crime report for 2013, the most recent available, counted 330 anti-Islamic hate crimes, compared to 310 anti-Islamic hate crimes in 2012. Arab and Somali immigrants were the main targets of anti-Islamic behavior. Because religion and ethnicity are often closely linked, it was difficult to categorize many incidents as being solely based on religious identity.
During the first six months of the year, the NCCP counted 28 anti-Semitic hate crimes in Malmo, compared with 68 such crimes in 2013. In August the Malmo hate crime police noted an increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes, which they stated were most likely connected to the conflict in Gaza. For the entire country, the NCCP reported a decrease in anti-Semitic crimes from 220 in 2012 to 190 in 2013, the most recent years for which full data was available. The NCCP considered the decrease a normal fluctuation.
Anti-Semitic incidents reported by the NCCP included hate speech (48 percent) and unlawful threats or harassment (32 percent). Among the perpetrators, 61 percent were not known previously by the victim, and crimes were committed mainly in public places and on the internet. There were also incidents of vandalism, mostly involving graffiti.
Anti-Semitic incidents were often associated with events in the Middle East and actions of the Israeli government, and local Jews were at times blamed for Israeli policies. The Jewish communities in Stockholm and Malmo reported that youth of Middle Eastern origin perpetrated many of the anti-Semitic hate crimes.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center left in place its travel warning first issued in 2010 for Jews traveling in southern Sweden, saying Jews in Malmo could be “subject to anti-Semitic taunts and harassment.”
In October two swastika flags were raised in Kronoberg in southern Sweden. One was raised in a school courtyard, but was taken down early in the morning by school staff. The second was outside a grocery store in Vaxjo. The two events were classified as hate speech and the cases were with the attorney general for assessment.
In June the Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism (SKMA) received SEK 5 million ($648,000) in funding from the government for an educational program directed at high school students on anti-democratic ideologies and the Holocaust, and other crimes against humanity. The grant was designed to help SKMA organize student trips to Holocaust sites in Poland and two seminars. The program also includes training to understand the consequences of racism and anti-democratic ideas, and, in turn, promote democracy and basic human rights values for ninth grade students at various high schools around the country. Approximately 400 students and about 45 teachers will participate.
Local authorities in Malmo continued the Forum for Dialogue to promote mutual understanding between the Jewish and Muslim communities and to take joint action to combat intolerance. The forum met regularly during the year.