09:40 GMT04 March 2021
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    A senior Jewish community leader in Germany has urged Jews not to wear skullcaps in areas with strong Muslim populations, amid fears of growing anti-Semitism and increased tensions between religious groups in Europe.

    Josef Schuster from the Central Council of Jews told German radio that while Jewish people shouldn't hide, it would be wise to go unrecognised in some areas.

    "The question is whether, in areas with a large proportion of Muslims, it is sensible to be recognised as a Jew by wearing a kippa or if it isn't better to wear some other form of head covering," Schuster told (rbb) Info Radio.

    "It is a development that I did not expect five years ago and that's a bit shocking," he said in reference to the perceived rise in anti-Semitic views across Germany, which Mr Schuster believes is partly due to an increase in anti-Israeli sentiment among some in Germany's Muslim communities.

    A number of German politicians and community leaders have backed these claims that the rise in aggression towards Jewish people has been influenced by the increased criticism of the Israeli government, particularly in relation to last year's military offensive in Gaza.

    Rising Religious Tensions across Europe

    There has been growing concern across Europe and the UK about the rise in attacks against Jewish people, particularly following January's Charlie Hebdo and Paris kosher shop shootings, and the fatal attack on a Jewish synagogue in Copenhagen earlier this month.

    In Germany, the number of reported anti-Semitic crimes rose by more than one third in 2014, according to the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, while in Britain, anti-Jewish incidents reached their highest levels ever last year, with the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues among such attacks.

    There have also been increasing concerns about the safety of Jewish people in France, with President Francois Hollande earlier this week outlining new plans to fight anti-Semitism in the country at a Jewish council event.

    However the event was shrouded in controversy, with Muslim leaders boycotting the event, after the Jewish council's president said Muslims were behind "all" violent crimes in France.

    This controversy followed the findings of a Council of Europe human rights report, which concluded that French society had become more racist and intolerant towards different religious and ethnic groups, citing attacks against both Jewish and Muslim communities.

    racism, religion, anti-Semitism, Jews, Israel, Germany
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