Young muslim man gets prize for fighting antisemitism

By Natalie Rothschild, November 15, 2012
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A 21-year-old man who founded the group “Young Muslims Against Antisemitism”, in Malmo, Sweden, has received an anti-racism award from the Swedish Committee Against Antisemitism.

“Siavosh Derakhti is a role model for young people,” said Willy Silberstein, president of the committee. “We hope that the prize will stimulate positive forces in Malmo so that more residents mobilise against antisemitism,”

Mr Derakhti, who arranged for his school class to visit Auschwitz in 2010, said it was “a great honour” to receive the prize.

While in Poland, he made a film which has subsequently been shown in Swedish schools. He regularly participates in public debates about racism.

He’s helped to create a more tolerant Malmo

During a ceremony in Stockholm’s Great Synagogue, to mark the anniversary of Kristallnacht (the Nazi Night of Broken Glass in 1938), Mr Derakhti was given a diploma and a cheque for 20,000 Swedish kronor (about £1,900).

He is the first recipient of the annual award which was instituted in October 2012 in order to reward young people who are working to counteract antisemitism and other forms of prejudice.

The committee noted that Mr Derakhti had contributed to fighting xenophobia and to creating “a more tolerant and pluralistic Malmo”.

Jews in Malmo have attested to a recent surge in antisemitic hate crimes. In September, an explosive device was set off outside a Jewish community building.

Last updated: 4:45pm, November 15 2012