Date: 10 Sep 2007


Extremism | 10.09.2007 
Politicians, Jewish Leaders Condemn Attack on Rabbi in Germany 
Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  Jewish community leaders are worried about attacks on minorities in Germany 
German politicians and representatives of the Jewish community condemned the racially motivated stabbing of a 42-year-old rabbi, which took place in the city of Frankfurt on Friday.

Roland Koch, premier of the state of Hesse, called the attack a "perfidious act that we can only view with horror and indignation and most strongly condemn." 

Koch said he wished the rabbi a speedy, complete recovery and that the attacker be caught as quickly as possible.

The rabbi, whose name was not released, survived a knife attack by a man who "sounded Arabic," Frankfurt police officials said on Saturday.

The assailant is reported to have approached the rabbi on Friday evening, the Jewish Sabbath, and said something unintelligible in what appeared to the victim to be Arabic.

When the 42-year-old rabbi, who was readily identifiable by his headwear, asked the man in German what he wanted, the man made a death threat, also in German, according to the police report.

Offensive language

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  Hesse Premier Koch called the attack "perfidious"
The assailant, who is reported to have been of Mediterranean appearance and accompanied by two women, stabbed his victim in the lower body.

A member of the Frankfurt Jewish community told -- the Web site of Germany's main news program -- that the attacker said, "I am going to kill you, Jew," before stabbing the rabbi in the abdomen. The assailant and the women with him then fled.

A police spokesperson also confirmed that the assailant used offensive, anti-Semitic language when addressing the rabbi.

Prosecutors are now offering a reward of 2,000 euros ($2,750) for information that would lead to the assailant. 

The rabbi was treated in a hospital shortly after the attack. His injuries were not critical.

No-go areas in the West?

The Central Council of Jews in Germany -- a lay organization whose goal is to foster local Jewish communities as well as promote understanding between Jews and gentiles -- was alarmed by the attack.

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  Knobloch is concerned about minorities in Germany
"I have visited the victim in the hospital and I am shocked and angry," said Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews. "In view of the increasing number of attacks on minorities in the country, one should think about whether the discussion about 'no-go areas' should now be expanded to include other regions in Germany and not only its eastern parts."

The debate about right-wing extremism and, in particular, the so-called "no-go areas" in eastern German states, was sparked shortly before the soccer World Cup in 2006, by a former government spokesman, Uwe-Karsten Heye, who said at the time that non-whites were not safe in some areas of former East Germany near Berlin.

Several racially motivated assaults in recent weeks -- the mobbing of eight Indian men by a group of 50 Germans shouting racist slogans in the town of Mügeln in the eastern state of Saxony, an attack on two men from Sudan and Ethiopia in a small town near Mainz in southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate and an attack on an Iraqi man in Magdeburg in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt -- have rekindled the debate about xenophobia, racism and right-wing extremism in Germany.