Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rare racist attack in Singapore

A Singaporean Muslim has been jailed for three years and sentenced to 12 strokes of the cane after punching a Jewish man outside the National Library earlier this year.

Azmi Osman, an unemployed 35-year-old who had the phrase "anti-Jews" tattooed on his face, hit Eliyahu Benhiyoun, a 21-year-old worker for Singapore's Jewish Welfare Board, on the upper arm in an unprovoked attack, according to the Straits Times.

It's not the sort of incident that happens often in Singapore (the Straits Times says it is "the first case of its kind involving a religiously aggravated assault") and, given the government's paramount desire to keep religious tensions at bay, it's not surprising that the judge has handed down a stiff sentence.

Apparently, Azmi has had a Merlion (the invented national mascot that's part fish, part lion) drawn over the "anti-Jews" tattoo but the original is still visible, so he will be "counseled" to have it removed. A story as unpleasant as it is bizarre.

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