A 39-year-old Imam in the Swedish city of Helsingborg has been sentenced to fines and a conditional prison sentence after labelling Jews “the progeny of monkey’s and pigs.”
The Imam made the remarks during a demonstration organised by the Swedish-Palestinian centre in July of 2017 after he was called on by organisers to speak, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
The man admitted that his speech, which was given in Arabic rather than Swedish, contained the hateful phrases but defended himself by claiming that they were not directed at all Jews but rather at the Jewish state of Israel instead.
“We think that the speech in its entirety states that the statement was about Jews with a view to their religion, not the regime or the military power,” the court said in a press release.
Claim: Multicultural Malmö a ‘No-Go Zone’ for Jews https://t.co/KgiFHbxrvy
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 26, 2019
“The conditional sentence has a probation period of two years. If he commits new crimes during that time, the conditional sentence can be replaced by another sentence,” lawyer Ylva Norling Jönsson said.
The Jewish community in Helsingborg reacted positively to the verdict telling the Swedish broadcaster, ” It is an important signal and mark from society that you cannot stand and say such things.” The Imam will face 60 days of fines for a total of 3,000 Swedish Krona ($305/£253).
Antisemitism has become a major issue in certain parts of Sweden, especially int he heavily migrant populated southern city of Malmö where protesters chanted about shooting Jews at a protest in December of 2017.
“We have announced the intifada from Malmö. We want our freedom back, and we will shoot the Jews,” the protesters said.
Young Jews Slam Antisemitism in Multicultural Malmö https://t.co/bdYQ8QPBlo
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 8, 2019
In June of this year, the Jewish congregation in the city expressed concern that the Jewish population could disappear in the near future saying, “When Malmö is mentioned in the media around the world, it is far too often related to antisemitism. A Google search for ‘antisemitism Malmö’ gives 215,000 hits. Unfortunately, current initiatives are not enough.”
Last month, several young members of the city’s Jewish community told Sveriges Radio that many of the high schools across the city were simply not safe for Jews to attend.
“Uncertainty means that you cannot go to school with a visible Star of David because then there is a high risk of being threatened, or that someone follows you from the school or even being beaten,” eighteen-year-old Daniel Vaknine said.