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May 2, 2022 2:24 pm

Up-and-Coming German Film Star Condemned for Attendance at Antisemitic ‘Free Palestine’ Demonstration

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Demonstration in support of Palestinians in Berlin, on April 23, 2022. Photo: Michael Kuenne/PRESSCOV/Sipa USA

A German actor who starred in a movie released last year about the antisemitism faced by an Iranian Jewish teenager has been identified as a participant in an antisemitic demonstration in Berlin that took place ten days ago.

23-year-old Mohammad Elraqui was spotted at a pro-Palestinian rally in the Neukölln district of the German capital on April 23. Protestors chanted antisemitic slogans, including “Scheiß Jude!” (“sh**y Jew”) and “strike, oh Qassam, don’t let the Zionists sleep” — referring to a rocket type developed by the Hamas terror group and fired at Israeli civilian targets.

Elraqui played a lead role in the 2021 move “Ein Nasser Hund” (“Wet Dog”), about a 16-year-old Iranian boy, Sohail, who moves with his parents to Berlin from the respectable town of Göttingen. Once in Berlin, Sohail discovers he is Jewish, and begins wearing a Star of David necklace that attracts the hostile attention of local Muslim teenagers, forcing him to hide his true identity. One of Sohail’s close friends in the movie was played by Elraqui.

At the demonstration, Elraqui was seen in the company of a group of youths who chanted slogans praising Mohammed Deif, the supreme military commander of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades of the Hamas terror group in Gaza. Elraqui was also reported to have been filmed at demonstrations on April 16 and April 18, footage of which was posted to the Tik Tok platform before being deleted.

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Sharuz Shalicar, the author of the book on which “Wet Dog” was based, said that Elraqui’s presence at the demonstration undermined the film’s message.

“If Mohammad really marched there, that’s unfortunate from my point of view, because the story on which the film is based criticizes exactly this blatant Muslim antisemitism,” Shalicar told the BZ news outlet. “The film is about what I experienced throughout my youth in Berlin-Wedding: that young people are excluded just because they are Jews.”

Shalicar added that Elraqui “could be a role model for some young people. It is all the more important that he stands up for peace and against hatred, as I do at every opportunity.”

However, the film’s director defended Elraqui. “Mohammad is a Palestinian and stands by his people. He distances himself from any hatred of Jews and antisemitism,” Damir Lukacevic said. “He quarreled with this group of protesters seen in the footage chanting hate and antisemitism and then walked away from them. He distances himself from any form of violence.”

Elraqui meanwhile issued his own statement on Monday on his Instagram feed. “I distance myself from all evil in this world,” he stated. Referring to the coverage in the German media of his presence at the demonstration, he added: “This sh*t here is more than just a movie!”

Antisemitic outrages have frequently been reported at pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Germany, particularly during the fighting last May between Israel and the Hamas terror organization in Gaza. Nearly half of the more than 3,000 antisemitic crimes reported in Germany during 2021 occurred in the second quarter of the year.

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