The Neue Synagogue was built in 1886 to seat 3,200 congregants to serve what had been a growing Jewish population in Berlin.
By World Israel News Staff
A 23-year-old Muslim was arrested and later released after entering a synagogue in Berlin on Friday with a knife and shouting in Arabic that Allah is great, reports the German Bild website.
According to the report, the man was born in Damascus and held a German residency permit that expires in December 2020.
He entered the Neue Synagogue synagogue at approximately 5:30 pm on Friday, shortly before the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath, and brandished his knife while yelling “Allahu Akbar” (‘God is Great’) and “F—k Israel,” said the German news website.
German police arrived at the scene after being notified by two synagogue security personnel who were apparently unable to disarm the man by themselves. The police reportedly subdued the Muslim man by spraying pepper spray into his eyes and tackling him to the ground.
A police spokeswoman, as quoted by En24.news, said that they are “investigating in all directions,” and that the man had no previous record in police files, which appears to be the reason why he was released, in addition to the fact that no one seems to have been hurt in the incident.
The Neue Synagogue was built in 1886 to seat 3,200 congregants to serve the growing Jewish population in Berlin at the time, according to entrumjudaicum.de, a website of the foundation which would later restore the edifice after World War Two. The building had a Moorish style dome on top and the entrance was flanked by two towers that were topped with gilded domes.
On Kristallnacht, (‘Night of the Broken Glass’) on November 9, 1938, when pogroms were carried out by the Nazis throughout Germany and Austria, the Neue Synagogue was set on fire, but strangely the head of the local police precinct called the fire brigade to put out the fire.
Later, though, as a result of bombs dropped by the allies on Berlin throughout the war, the synagogue was nearly completely destroyed.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the foundation called the “Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin – Centrum Judaicum” set out to reconstruct the front of the building and the Moorish style dome. The synagogue now has a prayer room and is open to visitors throughout the year.