Victim had been previously subject to hate crime; incident is the second arson attack this year on home of someone ‘active on Jewish issues’; no suspects arrested
The house of a Swedish politician who has been the target of anti-Semitic harassment was set on fire, in what his community is calling a hate crime.
The incident occurred on Tuesday night in the southern city of Lund, the Council of Swedish Jewish Communities wrote in a statement.
It did not name the person believed to have been targeted, describing him only as a lay politician with Jewish roots. The victim was able to extinguish the flames before the fire spread to other homes.
Police have no suspects in custody in connection with the incident, which resulted in extensive damage to the property.
The incident Tuesday, in which no one was hurt, follows an earlier arson in summer, wrote Aron Verstandig, the council’s president. In the earlier attack, the victim’s home also was targeted. Both homeowners have been “active on Jewish issues” over the past few years, Verstandig wrote.
Both victims wished to remain anonymous, Verstandig added.
“There is strong suspicion that these attacks are targeted against these people because they are Jews. The latest incident has the extra dimension of an attempt to intimidate a politician into silence,” Verstandig also wrote.
He called the arson “an attack on Swedish democracy.”
In December, several men participated in riots during which a firebomb was hurled at the synagogue of Gothenburg in southern Sweden. Three of the culprits who were tried for the attack said it was payback for the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In addition to Muslim extremist violence, which is common across Western Europe, Swedish Jews are exposed to violence and intimidation by far-right groups on a scale that is rare in that part of the world.