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Fire Outside Oxford’s Jewish Student Center Is ‘Display Of Hate’

(JTA) — In two anti-Semitic incidents involving the same Jewish community center in the British university city of Oxford, perpetrators spread white powder and started a fire outside the building.

Talcum powder was flung over the garbage bins at the Chabad Student Centre Wednesday and offensive letters left at the building, the This is Oxforshire daily newspaper reported. On Friday, racist notes were left around the building and a fire was started outside the building.

Police and firefighters raced to the scene after reports of the white powder being thrown. It was analyzed and found to be non-harmful.

Eli Brackman, the Chabad rabbi who runs the center, said he believed the powder was thrown in an attempt to spread panic and fear, with people initially believing it might be a more dangerous substance. He said the center was concerned but pledged to not be deterred by “displays of hate.” He added: “We have been touched by the reaction of the community and thankful for the response of the police and emergency services.”

Police have appealed for help from the public in trying to identify the culprits.

On Monday, the Oxford Labour Muslim Network condemned the incidents “in the strongest possible terms,” saying in a post on Facebook that “an attack on one is an attack on all.”

“The only way we oppose this is through unity and solidarity,” the group said, noting that there has been a surge of hate crime in Britain since Brexit and throughout Europe in recent years, with attacks on both the Jewish and Muslim communities.

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