Swastika attack: ‘We will all stand united’

Man in his early 40s has been sectioned under Mental Health Act

Friday, 5th November 2021 — By Isabelle Stanley

Phil Rosenberg

Phil Rosenberg during his time as a councillor

A FAITH LEADER has praised Camden’s unity after swastikas were spray-painted on walls around Belsize Square Synagogue.

Concerned passersby alerted the police to a young male spray-painting offensive symbols around Belsize Park on Saturday.

Officers found the suspect, a 16-year-old boy, after a 20-minute search at 8pm.  The boy was arrested on suspicion of religiously aggravated criminal damage and taken into custody. He has since been released under investigation.

This evening (Thursday), police said a man in his early 40s had now been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage. He has since been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and remains in the care of medical professionals.

Co-chair of the Camden Faith Leaders Forum Phil Rosenberg said: “It’s clearly caused upset to see a symbol of monstrous Nazism around an area with a significant Jewish population.”

It’s not the first time this has happened. In 2019, the police investigated a similar incident where antisemitic graffiti was sprayed around Camden, including on the walls of the West Hampstead Synagogue.

Mr Rosenberg said: “I would not overstate that these things are common, but I think we’ve got to continue the work of education and making sure people understand each other and that we build connections.”

He added: “Camden is good in that sense, people generally rub along together pretty well, but we can’t take that for granted.

“We’ve got to make sure we have good education opportunities, good interfaith activities. One of the things that the Faith Leaders Forum is very proud of is convening faiths so that people know each other and can reach out to each other in times of difficulty.

“It’s those pieces of work that really are important and particularly important at times like this when things do go wrong. You know, everyone kind of rallies around and supports each other.”

The community was impressed by the police response, Mr Rosenberg said: “There is a sense that there has been a quick response by the police and Camden swinging into action to clean these horrible things off.”


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