Somalia, Sweden & the USA

Gävle Museum in Sweden hosts art exhibition space for pedagogical purposes. School children make a pilgrimage there, an unofficial part of their curriculum.

Sweden is a wealthy country that prides itself on its generosity. During World War II, Sweden took in the Jews of Denmark, saving much of the population. Since then, the Swedes have taken in refugees from Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Syria. All have made Sweden their permanent home.

In 2016 “Statistics Sweden” reported that 63,853 Somalia-born, Muslim immigrants were living in Sweden. This number has vastly grown. While just over 9 million people live there, 190,000 refugees or 2 percent of its population will make Sweden their home this year alone.

15 years ago, a multi-generation, Polish-Swedish Jewish family became extended family to our Chabad community. The young mother and toddler visiting Boynton’s Children Museum gathered courage and asked where she could find a Jewish Temple that would welcome her grandmother who had not entered one for over 60 years. She was directed to Chabad’s public menorah lighting in the Boynton Beach Mall. It was their first encounter with formal Judaism. The rest, as they say, is history.

Eventually they returned to Poland and Sweden. Last week, after seven years, they suddenly returned. The boy, now 15-years-old, described Sweden as being “unsafe and unwelcoming.” He told his mother, “either take me back to America, or I will swim.” Verbally assaulted with slurs like “slave owner” and “incest child,” he did not have a single friend in school for 4 years.

Anna Sjogren, a Jewish woman wearing a Star of David, was recently severely beaten. This forced his mother “back into the closet, into hiding as a Jew.” In tears, she explained, “I couldn’t believe that I would have to tell my son to hide his Jewish identity in 21st century Europe. We, Polish Jews who just started to embrace our Jewishness after decades in hiding. Now we were again holding our breath lest they hear our Jewish hearts beating, like my grandmother hiding in her attic, as Germans searched her house in 1943 Warsaw.”

The picture she showed me was “worth a thousand words.” It was an exhibit in Gävle’s Museum that hangs alone in the reverent glow of spotlights. Children file past this “art” exhibit which is so gruesome and graphic, it is surely branded permanently into their young minds. The American flag drapes The Statue of Liberty, her torch of freedom “fueled” by murdered bodies of innocent women and babies.

The train station hosts another massive photo of “art.” The classic old Jew with his crooked nose, surrounded by playful young girls, and prominently depicted is his large stash of gold coins. Young Muslims laugh at it in delight. At home, international news is one consistent misinformation campaign about the two evil empires of the world, America and Israel.

This is the reality of Europe today. Sweden has been overtaken. It has become another Muslim stronghold from which Americans and Jews now must flee. The next generation of Europeans seem as likely to help their Jewish neighbors as the previous one. This family knows best and returned to the safety of the United States.

But upon their return, their dream of finally living in tranquility was shattered. The steady stream of images and hate-filled rhetoric emanating from Rep. Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman from Minnesota, disturbed them greatly.

“America’s support for Israel is all about the Benjamins baby,” she exclaimed. She exuded pride as she announced her unabashed support for BDS. “The Netanyahu government is one of brutality, dehumanization, and subjugation of millions of Palestinians living under military occupation,” she tweeted.

This self-described, proud Muslim, a native immigrant from Somalia, belongs to a culture all too familiar, and frightening, to this Jewish mother and her child. Omar holds a seat on Congress’ Foreign Relations Committee. She uses it as her bully platform to spew her deeply Un-American, Anti-Semitic vitriol.

Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi died in an Egyptian court. Rep. Omar joined in the outrage over his mysterious death. She expressed grief over this tyrant who famously urged his followers; “to nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them, as they (Jews) are descendants of apes and pigs.” She called for an independent inquiry into his death, ending her message; “Ala ya rahma.”

Days ago, again on her official twitter page, she translated her Islamic holy Quran. She cited chapter and verse of words that her co-religionists favor in Jihad battle.

Congress is currently playing host to a live, sister exhibition of the ones this distraught Jewish mother and her frightened son just witnessed in Gave and Sandomierz. This family knows too well that this is a clear and present danger. It is indefensible and must be removed.

About the Author
Ciment is Founding Rabbi of Chabad-Lubavitch of Greater Boynton Beis Menachem, a pioneering traditional Jewish presence in Central Palm Beach County, Florida established in 1994. Chabad's 5 acre, "Rae & Joseph Gann Campus for Living Judaism" serves hundreds of member families and services thousands of Jews from all walks of life.
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