Anti-semitism report shocks officials

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Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) has aired a series of reports in recent days, exposing what officials are calling a “shocking” level of anti-semitism in some Norwegian schools. Much of it is coming from Muslim students who go unchallenged. Education Minister Kristin Halvorsen calls the anti-semitism “completely unacceptable.”

NRK interviewed parents of Jewish children, teachers, Jewish leaders and officials of Muslim organizations. All denounced anti-semitic remarks and bullying reportedly going on in schools around the Oslo area.

One Jewish parent said he had to transfer his children from one school, to protect them from harassment, only to encounter the same problem at another school. Teachers said Muslim students often interrupt classes on World War II history, for example, claiming the holocaust didn’t occur or making anti-semitic remarks.

None of the teachers dared to appear on camera or be identified in other ways, fearing for their own safety. Nor would the Jewish parents, also fearing reprisal. In some cases, they claimed the Muslim students and gangs made death threats against both teachers and Jewish students.

The head of a local Islamic council joined Jewish leaders and Halvorsen in denouncing such anti-semitism. Anne Sender of the Jewish organization Det Mosaiske Trossamfund demanded that the harassment of Jews be taken seriously by school officials and the education ministry. Halvorsen promised on NRK’s nightly news that it would be.

Kari Helene Partapuoli of the Anti-Racist Center in Oslo said all schools must have a systematic means of reacting to racism and anti-semitism. “Many schools aren’t taking racism or anti-semitism seriously,” she told news bureau NTB.

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