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Anti-Semitism protest

Germans of various faiths donned Jewish skullcaps and took to the streets Wednesday in several cities to protest an anti-Semitic attack in Berlin and express fears about growing hatred of Jews in the country.

The kippa protest was triggered by the daytime assault last week of two young men wearing skullcaps in an upscale neighbourhood in the German capital. The attack, in which a 19-year-old Syrian asylum-seeker is a suspect, drew outrage in Germany and sharp condemnation by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

It is the latest of several anti-Semitic incidents that have many Jews wondering about their safety in Germany, which has tried to atone for Nazis' killing of 6 million European Jews in the Holocaust more than 70 years ago.

The rising tensions have come at a time when Germany is grappling with an influx of more than 1 million mostly Muslim migrants, along with the rise of a nationalist party, the Alternative for Germany, which was elected to Parliament last year. Its leaders are known for their openly anti-Muslim stance, but their anti-Semitism is less apparent.

Across Europe, anti-Semitism has been on the rise in recent years, and thousands of Jews — mostly from France — have moved to Israel.

More than 2,000 people — Jews, Christians, Muslims and atheists — put on kippas in a show of solidarity in Berlin.

The yarmulkes were of all varieties — silky and knitted, leathery, embroidered and patterned. Holding them so the wind wouldn't blow them away, both men and women cheered when Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller told them, "Today, we all wear kippa. Today, Berlin is wearing kippa."

Jewish community leaders said it was the biggest such display in public since before World War II.



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