Jewish Center in Sweden Closes in Wake of Anti-Semitic Threats
The Jewish center’s building had reportedly been defaced by swastika-laden vandalism and graffiti bearing slogans such as: “we know where you live.”
A Jewish culture center in northern Sweden decided on Sunday to close its doors in light of security concerns following a string of recent threats, according to local media.
Sweden’s English-language news outlet The Local reported that ahead of the decision, the ‘Judisk föreningen’ (Jewish Association) in the city of Umeå had received a slew of threatening e-mails. The Jewish center’s building had also been defaced by swastika-laden vandalism and graffiti bearing slogans such as: “we know where you live.”
On Sunday, the association held a meeting in which all members agreed to close the facility and halt activities run under its authority.
“Too many things have happened lately which mean that Jewish parents don’t feel safe having their kids at the schools,” the Jewish association’s spokesperson Carinne Sjöberg told Swedish national public TV broadcaster SVT.
“Our children shouldn’t need to live in a world where they have to be ashamed for what they are, but it’s not possible to operate if people are scared,” she added.
It was not initially reported whether the center was planning to reopen at a future date.
There are an estimated 20,000 Jews in the Scandinavian country, according to the Council of Swedish Jewish Communities. About a third of that population is said to be affiliated with a Jewish community.
In 2015, synagogues across Sweden were closed down as a precautionary measure after Stockholm raised the country’s terror threat assessment level, the World Jewish Congress announced.
Swedish authorities said that they are hunting a suspect and had “concrete information” of a possible attack only days after ISIS terrorists killed more than a hundred people in a series of coordinated attacks in Paris.