Islamic fury unleashed on synagogues worldwide

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The Independent Online

The Middle East crisis has generated demonstrations of Muslim rage around the world but few have been as dramatic or emotive as those in Indonesia.

The Middle East crisis has generated demonstrations of Muslim rage around the world but few have been as dramatic or emotive as those in Indonesia.

On Monday, an international gathering of parliamentarians in Jakarta was disturbed by hundreds of protesters chanting, "We want Jewish blood". And thousands of Muslims took to the streets of the capital dipping Israeli flags in the blood of a slaughtered goat.

Indonesia has the world's largest Islamic population - 90 per cent of the 210 million Indonesians call themselves Muslims.

President Abdurrahma Wahid has issued statements condemning the use of force by the Israelis.

Muslims of Indonesian origin clashed with police in Pretoria South Africa last Friday after marching on the US embassy and finding it closed down.

Security concerns arising out of the Middle East crisis have prompted the Americans to close eight embassies in Africa including Senegal, Tanzania, Nigeria, Mauritania and Kenya.

In France there have been at least 90 violent incidents of anti-semitism in the last ten days. They have taken various forms, from the throwing of home-made incendiary devices, to the ramming of Jewish cars.

In the most serious incident a synagogue in Trappes in the southern suburbs of Paris was burned to the ground last week. French police yesterday arrested five young men believed to be of Arab origin in connection with the attack.

Leaders of the French Jewish community have blamed "elements in the North African community in France" for stirring up enmity between Muslims and Jews.

Security has been tightened around Jewish centres in Germany, where neo-Nazis and supporters of the Palestinian cause pose a double threat. A synagogue in the western city of Essen has been attacked by Palestinian sympathisers.

Unknown assailants also threw stones earlier this month at the synagogue in Kreuzberg, the Berlin district with a large Muslim population.

Middle East tensions have also spilled over into the athletes' village in Sydney as 4,000 competitors from 128 countries prepare for the Paralympic Games, which begin today.

A spokesman for the Israeli team, Reuven Heller, said that athletes' preparations were affected, with many of them glued to television news reports about the conflict at home. He said that it was difficult to separate politics from the Paralympics, since 70 per cent of the Israeli team were disabled as as result of injuries sustained in battle.

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