Amid Rising Anti-Semitism, Community Leader Urges German Jews Not To Wear Religious Head Dress

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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After a recent anti-Semitic assault in Germany, Jewish leaders are telling their community to avoid wearing the kippah religious head dress.

As BBC News reports, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany is urging discretion, especially in urban areas.

“Defiantly showing your colors would in principle be the right way to go [to tackle anti-Semitism],” Josef Schuster said. “Nevertheless, I would advise individual people against showing themselves openly with a kippah in a big-city setting in Germany, and wear a baseball cap or something else to cover their head instead.”

German Justice Minister Katarina Barley expressed her concern this month that anti-Semitism was growing in her country.

“We have to admit that anti-Semitism is becoming socially acceptable again,” Barley told the Funke Media Group.

Schuster has issued warnings in the past. In 2015, he advised Jews to eschew the kippah in Muslim-dominated sections of a city.

The remarks prefaced a “Berlin Wears Kippah” demonstration on Wednesday that encouraged Germans to show their support for Jews after two men were targeted and assaulted last week while wearing their kippahs.

One of the men attacked told Isaraeli media that he was wearing the head gear specifically to demonstrate how Berlin was a safe city for Jews to visit.

According to reports, the attacker hurled anti-Semitic slurs at the two men while assaulting them. The incident has become a defining moment of racial unrest and a grim reminder in a country that was once characterized by the systemic and homicidal anti-Semitism of the Nazi era that ultimately led to the Holocaust.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has encouraged the mass migration of Muslim refugees to Germany, recently suggested that the current wave of anti-Jewish sentiment could be called the “new anti-Semitism” and might be blamed in part on some of those Muslim refugees.

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