Muslim radicals behind rise in anti-Semitism
Muslim radicals behind rise in anti-SemitismReuters

A local politician with Sweden’s ruling party said that Israel trained the jihadist group Islamic State (ISIS) to wage war on Muslims – and has apologized for the statement.

According to JTA, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reported on Thursday that Adrian Kaba, who represents Sweden’s Social Democrats in the Malmö city council, made the statement this summer during a discussion on Facebook.

In a Facebook post, Kaba wrote on July 21: “ISIS is being trained by the Israeli Mossad. Muslims are not waging war, they are being used as pawns by other peoples’ game.”

Reacting to the report, the chairman of the party’s regional branch, Joakim Sandell, said, “An elected official should not be spreading conspiracy theories.” Sandell said the party intends to deal with the issue internally, but did not elaborate.

Initially, Kaba argued he did not endorse the statement but merely forwarded it “because the main thing is to keep a debate going,” Sydsvenskan reported. But he later apologized for the remark, adding: “I now realize that I made a mistake. If there is evidence that this is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, then I reject it unreservedly.”

Sydsvenskan - as cited by JTA - added that in 2012, Kaba used the term “Jew-European extreme right-wing conspiracy” in an editorial in the Socialist newspaper Tro & Politik.

Approached by the paper for a comment on Kaba’s July remark the party’s regional vice chairman, Andreas Schonstrom, said he would “rather not criticize a fellow party member,” but he added that “you need to think before spreading such conspiracy theories.”

Attacks against Jews in Malmö, Sweden's third largest city, have left members of the community questioning their future in a place known for its "multiculturalism."

Jewish people have lived in Malmö for over two centuries, often arriving in the south Swedish port city - a safe haven for generations - after fleeing persecution and intolerance in other parts of Europe.

But though waves of immigration over the past two decades have made the area more diverse, hate crimes appear to be on the rise and many people - paradoxically - say they feel less secure.

Highlighting a problem many Swedes had thought long relegated to history, the US special envoy for anti-Semitism even visited Malmo last year. Typically, but not exclusively, the perpetrators of anti-Semitic hate crimes are "young men with roots in the Middle East," according to Jehoshua Kaufman, a member of Malmö's Jewish congregation.

A 38 year-old man was assaulted in Malmö in July - for the sole crime of hanging an Israeli flag in his window. The assailants broke the man's window first, prompting him to seek the perpetrators, police said. 

"After that the man went out onto the street to see what was going on. Then he was attacked and it was on the basis of the flag. That is the information we have at present," police told the TT news agency Monday. 

They added that ten people chased the man from his building, wielding iron pipes. He managed to narrowly escape his attackers and was taken to hospital with serious injuries.