Sofia's Central Synagogue
The murder in Toulouse of three Jewish children and a rabbi was an unambiguous sign of the rapid and vigorous increase in intolerance for people of a different faith, ethnic origin and lifestyle in Europe, the Shalom Organisation of the Jews in Bulgaria said in a statement.
On March 22 2012, a memorial service, co-organised by Shalom and the French embassy was held at the Sofia Synagogue to say kaddish, the prayer for the dead, for those shot dead in the attack at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.
Earlier, memorials also were held at French schools in Sofia and Varna, Bulgarian media said.
Mohamed Merah, the prime suspect in the shooting, died on March 22 after a prolonged police siege of a house where he had taken refuge.
Shalom said that the Toulouse shootings had been an intentionally organised act of hatred. What had happened in the French city, in the oldest and most civilised part of Europe, was reprehensible, Shalom said.
Shalom’s statement was directed against anti-Semitism as well as intolerance as a whole and xenophobia.
Maxim Benvenisti, president of Shalom, said that the statement was not the first warning of a hardening of attitudes of intolerance.
Today in Europe, forces were rising that wanted the restoration of the Europe of Adolf Hitler, he told local media.
Jews and Muslims were the most common objects of hatred and criminal actions, Benvenisti said, adding that there was a long tradition of hatred of Jews, with whole generations that had been raised to be anti-Semitic.