In a fresh batch of anti-Semitism, a gang of youths admitted assaulting a non-practising Rabbi in Gateshead. Motivated by the recent conflict in Gaza, the four individuals (Balawal Sultan, Kesa Malik, Hassnain Aliamin, and a 16-year-old) picked their target for no more than his religious identity. The gang now find themselves in young offenders institutions.
A day before the planned assault, Sultan texted “I’m going to go Jew bashing. Haha” and asked a friend: “Do you want to go to Gateshead to smash some Jews up”.
Their victim had just left a Jewish study class and was peacefully returning home to his family. Initially, the gang jumped the individual who fled in panic. One of the gang threw a piece of wood in his direction – causing the victim to trip and fall – the gang surronded the Jewish man and threatened to kick him in the head but a friend interveneted and prevented any further violence.
The victim told the court:“I feel shaken and unsafe to walk the streets in my own community. I have never experienced fear and terror like it and I have no doubt I was attacked for being Jewish.
“I was targeted because of my religion and I’m now scared to walk past members of the Asian community with whom otherwise I have no problem. When I come across a person from the Middle East I feel scared and petrified.”
Judge Brian Forster QC stated: “I hope this case sends out a clear message to anyone tempted to behave in a similar way. The courts will not in any circumstances tolerate a situation where one person is tempted to attack another by reason of their race or religion.
“Anyone who chooses to attack someone for their race or religion commits a very serious offence.
“Our country is the stronger because people come from many different backgrounds and people do their best to live together in harmony.
“It’s important everybody should understand that the law gives the same protection to all. That’s a fundamental of our society.”
This ugly incident once again serves to remind how anti-Semitism ebbs and flows in flashes of violence and bigotry.