Stabbing of Jewish woman in Sweden ‘not about religion,’ suspect’s mom says

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — The man suspected of stabbing a Jewish woman in Sweden did not commit a hate crime, his mother said, but targeted his victim randomly amid a psychiatric crisis.

The 29-year-old man, who has an extensive criminal record for assault, was released from 12 days at a psychiatric institution one day prior to the attack Tuesday in Helingborg, according to Expressen.

Several Israeli media reported that he is Muslim, though this has not been confirmed.

“I do not share the image that is spread in the Israeli media, though I understand the concern and do not want in any way to downplay it,” prosecutor Linda Seger told the Helsingborgs Dagblad daily.

The Expressen report did not say whether the suspect is in fact Muslim. Neither the suspect, his mother nor the victim have been named.

“This does not have anything to do with religion,” the mother told Expressen.

The suspect delivered near-fatal blows to the woman, a leader of the local Jewish community, near her home on a busy street. He approached her from the back, plunging a large knife into her upper body. The assault was over within seconds and he fled the scene, police said.

The suspect then crossed the border to neighboring Denmark and checked into a local hostel, where police arrested him on Wednesday, according to Expressen.

On Thursday, a Muslim umbrella organization from Malmo condemned the attack.

“Whatever the motive,” the Malmo Muslim Network wrote, “we Muslims know the insecurity such an attack can lead to for the entire Jewish community of Helsingborg.”