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Beatings and abuse from Muslim classmates have been cited by the parents of a Jewish teenager as the reason they removed him from a leading Berlin school.
The 14-year-old was born in London to a British mother and a German father. According to a report in the Sunday Times, the student was kicked and punched by students of Middle Eastern and Turkish origin so many times he was left fearing for his life. One of the attackers is alleged to have threatened to shoot him with a mock gun he believed was real.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany described the bullying allegations at the Friedenauer Gemeinschaftsschule in Berlin as “anti-Semitism of the ugliest form.”
The Times reports Ferdinand and his parents — Gemma, an entrepreneur from London, and Wenzel, a human rights organiser — chose a multicultural environment for their son’s schooling. Until recently the family had hosted a Syrian refugee in their Berlin home.
“I loved the fact that the school was multicultural . . . the kids and teachers were so cool,” Ferdinand said.
Yet within a week of enrolling last November, at a school where almost three-quarters of the pupils are from immigrant families, Ferdinand’s troubles began after he let slip that he was Jewish.
“First my Turkish friend Emre said he could no longer hang out with me because I was Jewish,” Ferdinand said. “Then other pupils started saying stereotypical things about how Jews only want money and hate Muslims.”
Daily beatings by a gang of pupils, all of immigrant origin, soon followed. These were accompanied by racial insults.
“This boy, Jassin, whose parents are Palestinian, asked me if I’m from Israel,” Ferdinand said. “I’ve never been to Israel. He said Palestine will burn Israel and his friends said Turkey will burn Israel. He kept kicking me.
“One day he came up to me from behind and he punched me in the back. I became dizzy . . . I had a bruise for a week or two. Every time something bad happened, I told myself I could manage it, but it only got worse.”
The experience of Ferdinand is not an isolated incident in the Berlin school system.
Aaron Eckstaedt, principal of the Moses Mendelssohn Jewish High School in Berlin, told the Jewish Chronicle that six to 10 Jewish parents apply to switch their children to his school every year.
The requests are generally “in reaction to anti-Semitic statements coming overwhelmingly from Arabic or Turkish classmates,” he said.
Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, insisted Berlin’s education ministry investigate the school and pinpoint any failings. In his statement, reported in the Juedische Allgemeine weekly paper, he also called on Muslim leaders in Germany to combat “antisemitic tendencies in their ranks with all the determination they can muster.”
As Breitbart Jerusalem has reported, anti-Semitism is rising in a variety of forms in Germany, and is being found to include criticism of the modern state of Israel in general and Jews in particular.
The Independent Expert Group on anti-Semitism published its findings in Germany at the end of April on the matter. It found Jews are “increasingly concerned for their safety due to everyday experiences of anti-Semitism” as the number surveyed who agreed with anti-Semitic statements rose from 28 per cent in 2014 to 40 per cent in 2016.
Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: Follow @SunSimonKent or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org