“This is not about anti-semitism”

After a suspected case of religious bullying at a Berlin elementary school came to light, the father of the Jewish girl involved spoke out. He stressed that the incident was not about anti-Semitism.

"It's about children from Muslim homes persecuting or bullying other children just because they don't believe in Allah," the 41-year-old told the Evangelical Press Service . It does not matter at all, he said, whether they are Christians, atheists, Jews or others. But also within the Muslim student body, children are excluded because they "go to the wrong Koran school," for example.

According to the man's daughter, she has been harassed by Muslim pupils at the Paul-Simmel elementary school in Berlin-Tempelhof several times in recent years because she does not believe in Allah. Also with the death had been threatened to it because of it by Muslim schoolmates. The father emphasized that when the first insults and threats were made, the classmates did not know that one of the girl's parents was of Jewish origin. But this does not play a role in the life of the family, because they are not religious. "My daughter is German and eats pork. But first and foremost she is a good person," says the father.

Reproach to politics and authorities

The man accuses politics, education administration and school management of doing nothing against this climate of exclusion and relativizing the incidents. The family therefore saw no other option than to turn to the media. "Before, no one was interested in it, although we informed all the relevant authorities about it."

Women's rights activist, lawyer and founder of a liberal mosque congregation Seyran Ates also sees a principled story in the incident. "This is not just about anti-Semitism," Ates told the "Berliner Zeitung" (Tuesday). "This is about the question of how we want to live together as a society in the future. Values such as tolerance and universal human rights should continue to be the basis of our coexistence."

Countermeasures and prevention

According to Berlin's education administration, a meeting on the incident is expected to take place next week. According to this, school supervision, school management, parents, the anti-discrimination officer and school psychologists are involved. The goal was to discuss measures in the specific case, but also "what the school as a whole can do".

The school management had informed the education administration about various cases in the past two years. This also involves a beheading video that is said to have circulated in a chat group. To this end, the police held talks with the parents of the students in question and sent a letter to the parents of the other students. In the case of the threat to the girl, the parents of the boy responsible were called in.

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