The Shmooze

An Unlikely Duo Demands Justice for the Roma

By Josh Tapper

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A joint Hindu-Jewish crusade against the abuse of European Roma issued a statement Monday calling on European leaders to stop treating the ethnic group as “pariahs.”

Rabbi Jonathan Freirich, a California- and Nevada-based rabbi, and Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, argue that European governments repeatedly scapegoat Roma, also known as Gypsies; the two religious leaders also note European governments – namely France – tend to blame Roma for social unrest.

Travel restrictions imposed on Roma, who spread across most of Central and Eastern Europe, Spain and France, indicates a major double standard in the European Union, Frierich and Zed say, where border hopping can be accomplished with ease.

While their concerns are not new, Frierich and Zed make an unlikely pair. In late August, they urged the European Commission to institute sanctions against France after the Sarkozy government expelled around 1,000 Roma.


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