Fiamma Nirenstein laments “violent and shocking episode” in Belgium

The chair of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP), Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein, has expressed “great concern” over the recent violent attack on a 13-year-old Jewish girl by five classmates of Moroccan descent. The assault took place in mid-November at an athletics center in Brussels. The Muslim girls beat their Jewish classmate, calling her a "dirty Jew” and telling her "return to your country.” The victim was badly injured and continued to receive threats in the days following the attack. She filed a complaint with Brussels police.

Following the incident, Belgian parliamentarian Viviane Teitelbaum - a member of the ICJP Steering Committee - denounced the silence and indifference of the country’s political leaders and the majority of the media toward the heinous act.

Nirenstein (pictured) called the attack “a violent and shocking episode that takes us back to Europe’s darkest days.” She added: “It is time for Belgium to come to terms with the alarming rise in anti-Semitic incidents, a fact that can no longer be taken too lightly. We invite our colleagues from all political parties, Jewish and non-Jewish, to raise their voices and undertake relevant parliamentary action to urge the government of Belgium to counter this inconceivable form of hatred.”

In an earlier statement, the Jewish umbrella organization of Belgium CCOJB asked the judicial authorities to ensure that the investigation will be conducted without delay. The Jewish group requested from the education minister "to introduce appropriate educational programs in schools to prevent un justified tensions between communities." The CCONJB also voiced what it termed the "exasperation" of the Belgian Jewish community at the repetition of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist attacks. The Central Jewish Consistory, the representative body of Jewish religious congregations in the country, also intervened with the authorities.

Find out more about Belgium's Jewish community and click here.

Photo: Andres Lacko

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