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August 10, 2011 12:01 am

London Jewish Community Takes Precautions Over Riots

avatar by Maxine Dovere

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A carpet store gutted by fire from rioting arsonists. Photo: Alan Stanton.

An uncontrolled crowd creates its own tsunami of fear and destruction. London is burning on the day that tradition says marked the burning of the Holy Temples in Jerusalem: an irony that cannot be escaped. Observers speak of shock, anger, and fright.

As the streets of London brace for a fourth night of uncontrolled rioting, precautions are being put in place by citizens and police.  In the heavily Jewish areas of Tottenham and Golders Green, areas with a significant – on street retail component, efforts to protect life and property are active.  Both the community and individuals in the area are taking precautions to protect homes and businesses from riots which have grown progressively more volatile.

Police, Shomrim,- whose stated mission is to preserve life and protect humanity only – and rabbis throughout Northwest London have urged that people remain in their homes, close their businesses and neither participate in or even be around the riots. Shomrim report that entire areas around Evering Road Junction, and Clapton Common in Stamford Hill have been completely closed off.”  There is a strong police presence on Golders Green Road.

That riots have occurred in areas where there are large Jewish populations appears to be a situation of “happenstance” dictated by simple geography rather than any directed efforts to attack the Jewish community. The riots broke out late Saturday in Tottenham, a multiethnic area in north London that is home to a small English Chassidic community. The first demonstrations followed the August 4 shooting by police of suspected drug dealer Mark Duggan. It quickly spread, and has resulted in arson attacks and looting in many neighborhoods.

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One person is confirmed dead; the victim was shot while sitting in his car. During Monday afternoon, a stabbing occurred near a Bobov Shul. The Guardian newspaper reported that members of Tottenham’s Chasidic community jeered police on Saturday, and were dispersed by officers on horseback. A YouTube video shows members of the Orthodox community handing out challah, an act praised by one “protester,” according to the Socialist Worker newspaper.

The London Shomrim emergency hotline is  0300 999 1234.

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