Thursday, January 12, 2006

Russian Jews demand action


Russia must start enforcing the law to stop a racist groundswell turning into mass bloodshed, Jewish leaders warned on Thursday, a day after a knife attack on worshippers in a Moscow synagogue.

Analysts said the attack, by a man who shouted "Heil Hitler" as he wounded eight people, was connected to a racist trend whipped up by politicians exploiting nationalism to win votes.

"To blame this on lone mad people is dangerous, because these mad people could explode the whole country," Borukh Gorin, of the Russian Federation of Jewish Organisations, said.

Rights activists point to a growing wave of violence against foreigners and ethnic minorities.
Last month, a student from Cameroon was killed in St Petersburg -- the latest in a series of murders of Africans and Asians in the northern city.

The murders of two Tajik gypsy girls -- aged five and nine -- shocked the nation two years ago.
"Blood is flowing: the blood of Jews, the blood of Africans. It is all red. And by the laws of social science, other blood will flow too," said Gorin.

Government and parliamentary officials condemned the assault and ordered tighter security for synagogues throughout Russia.

But analysts say authorities are ignoring the threat of racist violence and even provoking nationalist feeling for their own ends.