Non-Jew Patrick Reilly decided to test the antisemitic reputation of Sweden's third city, Malmö, for himself. Donning a kippah, he took a stroll through a bustling neighbourhood.
It was an unsettling experience:
"....The idea was to go about my normal day and also visit places which a potential tourist may go to, albeit with one major difference – the kippah clipped to the back of my head....
Well, it didn't take long before I got the feeling that I was on display as I walked towards Möllevången. Möllan, as it is referred to by locals, is the bohemian quarter of Malmö with a bustling fruit and veg market manned largely by immigrants by day and pubs serving cheap beer by night.
I've walked down this street countless times in my normal garb, without causing as much as a backwards glance. Now, it was as if I had two heads judging by the number of stares arrowed in my direction.
As I passed a well-known bar I spotted some lunchtime coffee drinkers looking open mouthed in my direction. Navigating the fruit and vegetable stalls it was obvious that I was being stared at by shoppers and stall workers.
When it came time to make a purchase something strange happened. The stall worker started to giggle and beckoned his boss to come over and witness this transaction. Both were friendly to the point where it was almost too much.
Stares I'd expected but good-natured laughter I certainly hadn't. This was strange.
For safety reasons I asked a friend to shadow me from a discrete distance just in case things got ugly. Whilst in Möllan we went to one of the local coffee shops sandwiched between the falafel and ethnic food stores.
As we waited for our drinks I was spotted by two men in the corner of the small coffee shop. I could feel their eyes burning into the back of my borrowed shiny white kippah but – again – nothing was said or done that could be construed as anti-Semitism, or at least not of a sort that would make me fear for my safety.
Nevertheless, I was nervous and those feelings only intensified as we sat outside in the public square to drink our coffees.
On several occasions people stopped and looked back at me with a mixture of disbelief and menace. Another woman promptly broke into a fit of giggles like it was the funniest thing she had seen in ages. Then a group of men with large dogs lingered, for what seemed like an eternity, just in front of me.
Perhaps it was because they spoke fast in a language I didn't understand or it was the close proximity of the dogs which made me feel scared. Whether the threat was real or imagined the fear was genuine and that stemmed from what I was wearing on my head.
This was hardly helped when my friend told me that another group of men had been staring solidly at me for 30 minutes from a cafe across the street.
It was time to leave Möllan but I wanted to buy some flatbread before then. Once again the young man in the ethnic food store broke into laughter when I handed him the ten kronor for the fresh bread. A (faux) Jew in this part of town certainly had a curiosity factor.
Next I walked up the big shopping street, Södra Förstadsgatan, to the main square at Gustav Adolfs Torg. More stares followed, particularly from a woman as I ate lunch, but I did feel safer in this part of town.
After a while I began to forget I was wearing the kippah until a burly man walked aggressively in my direction and mouthed "fucking Jew" to his friend. It was a reminder that making your Jewish identity in Malmö obvious carries its own risk. Frankly, it was a relief to take it off.
I've lived in Malmö for almost two years and in that time there have been numerous shootings and violent crimes. As an Irish person abroad I've never felt remotely threatened but wearing the kippah for a few hours was enough to instill feelings of fear. Even when I didn't feel afraid I was made to feel different and unwelcome.
The statistics show that my fear is well-placed. Sixty anti-Semitic hate crimes were registered in Malmö in 2012 – almost three times the number in previous years. None of these resulted in a conviction....'Read the entire article here
Hat tip: Vlad Tepes blog