September 17, 2007

German police arrest suspect in stabbing of rabbi last week

Muslim identity politics - and Jew-hatred - are once again the motivation in the stabbing of a rabbi by a German of Afghan origin. From Ha'aretz:

Police arrested a German of Afghan origin in the stabbing of a rabbi in Frankfurt last week, prosecutors said Friday.

The 22-year-old man was arrested Thursday night and admitted to stabbing the rabbi, Zalman Gurevitch, Frankfurt prosecutors said in a statement. The man is being investigated on suspicion of attempted manslaughter and dangerous bodily harm.

Police have said an anti-Semitic insult preceded the stabbing September 7. Gurevitch has been recovering in a hospital.

The attack prompted concern and condemnation from local politicians and Jewish groups. According to the rabbi, the assailant said, "I'll kill you, you (expletive) Jew," prosecutors say.

However, prosecutors said the suspect - whose name they did not release - denies having either any intention of killing the rabbi and any anti-Semitic motive.

The Frankfurt-born German citizen, whose parents come from Afghanistan, maintains that he greeted the rabbi with the words "salaam aleikum," or peace upon you. In their statement, they said that there was then an exchange of words which ended in a physical confrontation.

The suspect said that he felt physically inferior to the rabbi and so reached for his knife, they added. The weapon had a 7.6-centimeter (3-inch) blade.

Prosecutors said they tracked down the suspect after being tipped off to an Internet forum that contained details of the incident.

Spokeswoman Doris Moeller-Scheu said prosecutors and police had no information to suggest that he had a radical Islamic background. She said the attack appeared to have been spontaneous rather than planned.