Why this story matters:
The case of an antisemitic attack on a Jewish girl in a Berlin school has sounded a wake-up call for German society.
The president of the Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster, said teachers must "clearly oppose" any words or actions that are an attack on Jews.
While telling teachers to react sounds is reasonable advice, it shifts the burden on educators who are unprepared for handling such delicate matters. Teachers often report not knowing how to react when antisemitic accidents take place.
In the long run, it will probably be more fruitful to invest significantly in training teachers to handle religious discrimination -- although we should first and foremost look into ways to eradicate it completely.
Details from the story:
- According to information collected by Zeit, religious-based bullying is on the rise in Berlin schools.
- The bullies are typically Muslim children who attack kids from Jewish and sometimes Christian or Alevite families. Muslims who eat pork or don't wear headscarves are also targeted.
- Teachers are reporting that the word "Jew" has become a common classroom insult, and not only against Jews.
- Even though no figures are known about anti-Semitic bullying in schools, the Central Council of Jews considers the situation a threat.
- Berlin police said several mosques associated with the Salafist branch are preaching radical versions of Islam. One such mosque is located close to the Paul Simmel Primary School in Berlin-Tempelhof, where bullying was reported. Children from that school attended the mosque with their families.
- Non-Muslim children also have been accused of bullying. in Dresden, a group of schoolkids taunted Jewish classmates with Hitler salutes and anti-semitic jokes, imitating right-wing extremists.