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EU officials, diplomats and Jewish leaders attend memorial ceremony for the victims of terrorist attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels

Written by EJP
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 22:10
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European Jewish Association Director General Menachem Margolin deplores that in some countries the Jewish religion is attacked and that 40% of Jews in Europe are hiding their judaism,

BRUSSELS (EJP)---Security of the Jewish community in Belgium should be on the agenda of the future government but also at European level,'' said Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders at a memorial ceremony in Brussels marking 30 days since the killing of four people in a terrorist attack at the city’s Jewish Museum.

‘’Today is a sad day, not just for the Jewish community but for the entire Europe,’’ said Nahama Tawil, programme director of the European Jewish Community Center in opening remarks.

The ceremony, organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA), was also attended by acting European Parliament President,Gianni Pittella, Belgian Interior Minister Joelle Milquet, Flemish Minister Koen Geens,  ambassadors to the European Union from around 20 countries, including US Ambassador Anthony Gardner, as well as Jewish and Muslim community leaders. Jewish Museum Director Philippe Blondin was also present.

Candles were lit in memory of the victims.

On May 24, a terrorist killed four people at the Jewish Museum: a couple of Israeli tourists,Emanuel and Miriam Riva, Alexandre Strens, a Belgian employee at the museum, whose father is Muslim and his mother Jewish, and Dominique Sabrier, a French citizen who volunteered at the museum.

A 29-year-old Frenchman, Mehdi Nemmouche, suspected of being the gunman was arrested six days later in Marseille on a routine check.

The man, who spent a year with jihadists fighting in Syria, is waiting a French court decision on his extradition to Belgium.

‘’The fact that communities and beliefs are being targeted make the unbearable even more revolting,’’ said Minister Reynders who was one of the first witnesses of the Jewish museum attack.

He stressed the need to intensify the fight against hate speech and to work together with European partners.

‘’This attack reminds us that anti-Semitism is still alive,’’ declared Gianni Pitella. ‘’The EU must eradicate any form of anti-Semitism and xenophobia.’’

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Director General of the European Jewish Association, urged action from the European governments. Denouncing that the words ‘’Dirty Jew’’ in the street have become normal and are heard every day, he said the situation requires a different attention.

Deploring that 70 years after the Holocaust ‘’we still need to fight against anti-Semitism’’, that in some countries the Jewish religion is attacked and that 40% of Jews in Europe are hiding their judaism, Rabbi Margolin called on all European governments ‘’to set up an official special authority to fight against anti- Semitism.’

’’Only this authority will ensure full security to all Jews, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that education on anti-Semitism and on the Holocaust would be included in school curricula,’’ he said.

‘’It is only with action that we can secure the future of the Jewish people in Europe.’

Khalid Hajji, President of the European Council of Moroccan Ulemas, said that religion must be the basis for better communication and urged partied to come together “to build a better future.”

Philippe Markiewicz, who chairs the Brussels Jewish community, said the deadly attack did not affect just his community but all Jewish communities. He added that the Israel-Palestine conflict ”was unrelated.” ‘’We are out of this conflict,’’ he said.

Jewish tradition prescribes a thirty day period of mourning for relatives and loved ones, during which people abstain from attending normal social gatherings. Following the end of this 30-day period, it is customary to gather together in solidarity, to offer support, recite prayers and do good deeds in the merit of the soul of the deceased, which in turn helps the mourner to adapt back to his normal routine.






Last Updated on Saturday, 28 June 2014 13:24

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