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Monday, January 05, 2009

Threats increase against Yemen Jews

From Reliefweb:
Members of the small Jewish community of some 270 people in Amran Governorate, northern Yemen, say they have been receiving renewed death threats from their Muslim neighbours since the start of the Israeli offensive against Gaza on 27 December.

Harassment and intimidation have been stepped up: On 4 January a number of schoolchildren attacked Jews with sticks and stones in Raydah District during a protest against the Israeli attacks on Gaza, local Jews said.

"Zaher Salem, 36, was injured after boys threw stones, hitting him in the head. The boys also attacked Jews in a number of houses, breaking windows and frightening children," Hayeem Yaish, a Jewish activist, told IRIN.

Yaish said Jews had been receiving threats from Muslim extremists since the killing of a Jew on 11 December by a Muslim extremist, but that harassment had increased since the Israeli action in Gaza.

"The protesters told us the state won't protect us and that they would attack us secretly if not openly," he said, adding: "We are intimidated every day and our pain grows constantly. We even receive threats on our mobile phones."

The Interior Ministry's Information Centre said on 4 January that the boys who had attacked the Jews - along with the boys' fathers - had been arrested by the authorities.

Relocation delayed

According to Yaish, the Jews were told by the authorities they would be moved to Sanaa City on 4 January, but that has not yet happened. "The Jews got ready to be relocated to Sanaa but the process of transferring us was delayed. We don't know when we can move," he said.

"The longer we stay here in Raydah, the more the threats against us. We really fear for our lives and the lives of our children."

The Jews, unlike other local people in Amran Governorate, do not carry guns or daggers. Only the state can provide protection for them, said Yaish.

"When a minor problem occurs between a Muslim and a Jew, you can see armed men gather to protect the former. But when we get harassed, no one stands by us," he said, adding that tension had been simmering in Amran since two Jews were killed by Muslims in separate incidents a few years ago.

But I thought that Islam protected the dhimmis?

More details here.