Hours after a gunman opened fire at a Denmark cafe during a discussion about cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, killing one person and wounding three police officers, shots were fired outside a synagogue in downtown Copenhagen, wounding three people. Police haven’t determined whether the attacks were related.
The AP reports that one of the victims was shot in the head, and two other victims, both police officers, were shot in the arms and legs. Police are searching for the perpetrators of both attacks.According to a Chabad rabbi, the city’s Chabad house is under lockdown.
The initial attack was believed to have targeted Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has previously received death threats for cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, and who was speaking at an event called Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression. “What other motive could there be?” he told the AP. “It’s possible it was inspired by Charlie Hebdo.” Today’s attacks occurred just one month after the massacre at Paris satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the deadly shooting at a kosher supermarket in Paris.
“We are on high alert and there will be exceptional staff and police presence in Copenhagen all night,” senior police inspector Jørgen Skov said.
Michael Moynihan explored the disturbing rise of anti-Jewish sentiment in historically tolerant Denmark back in 2013 in an article called Hiding Judaism in Copenhagen. He wrote, “For Jews exploring Nørrebro, it’s advisable to heed the advice of Israel’s ambassador to Denmark, Arthur Avnon, who last November suggested that Jews traveling in Copenhagen exercise extreme subtlety: Don’t speak Hebrew too loudly, cover up any visible Star of David jewelry, fold your kippot and slip them into your pockets. In other words, in certain areas of Copenhagen, it’s best to keep your Judaism to yourself.”
We’ll update this post as we learn more about the developing story.
Related: Hiding Judaism in Copenhagen
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.