The Jewish community centre used by students in Oxford was targeted twice in anti-Semitic attacks, with perpetrators spreading white powder and starting 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 Oxfordshire 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 analysed and found to be non-harmful.
Eli Brackman, the Chabad rabbi who runs the centre, 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 centre was concerned but pledged not to be deterred by “displays of hate.”
“We have been touched by the reaction of the community and thankful for the response of the police and emergency services,” he said.
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.