Canvey Island swastika daubings 'baffle' leader of Charedi community

Leader expresses concern but adds: 'It appears to be some dispute between local people'


The leader of Canvey Island’s Charedi community has declared himself "concerned but more baffled" by a wave of antisemitic graffiti on Remembrance Sunday.

Homophobic and racist messages were sprayed on cars and garages in the Essex town, including swastikas and references to the “n-word”.

But Joel Friedman,who leads the local Charedim , told the JC that no Jewish families were targeted, and the attacks were not in the areas where Jews have settled.

“No one in the community was aware of it – all we’ve known is from social media and journalists calling us up. This didn’t happen in the Jewish area.

“It appears to be some dispute between local people. Somehow it has spilled over into a racist attack. 

“I’m concerned but more baffled by this. The crime itself doesn’t seem to make sense.”

Essex Police confirmed that each of the victims “identify as white British but with no Orthodox religious affiliation”.

Mr Friedman added that the Jews had enjoyed “great experiences” and relations with the local community since establishing a Charedi presence.

The Charedi community has received messages of support from the local police and from Rebecca Harris, who was the Conservative MP for Castle Point until the dissolution of Parliament.

The attacks are being treated as hate crimes, and officers have gone door-to-door to to reassure residents.

The police want to speak to a white man, described as being 6ft 2ins tall and wearing a light-coloured jacket, jogging bottoms and trainers with reflective strips on the backs.

Sgt Victoria Jarvis said it was "an incredibly sad day" for Canvey Island.

She added: "This community has welcomed people of all backgrounds, races and religions, and for someone to publicly declare hatred of certain members of society, and damage property in doing so, is unacceptable.

"We've been working closely with local residents... to raise awareness of hate crime, gather information, and have maintained a visible presence in the area to deter any further criminal activity."

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