The Metropolitan Police Service has confirmed that it is considering a hate crime motive after charging a man with attempted murder following the stabbing of a Hasidic rabbi, who is a father of six, in Stoke Newington last Friday.
Stanley Francis, 44, who is local to the North London neighbourhood where the incident took place, has been charged with attempted murder and possessing an offensive weapon in a public place. His fist scheduled court appearance was at Thames Magistrates’ Court today.
The suspect was held down at the scene by brave nearby builders and passersby until the police arrived.
The victim, a father of six in his 50s, is a renowned teacher in the Satmar charedi Jewish community. He was admitted to hospital with stab wounds but was able to return home over the weekend to convalesce.
DS James Tipple said: “We’re conducting extensive enquiries into this attack and have been gathering evidence. However I know many people saw this attack and, if anyone has any footage or information about this incident, please come forward and tell us what you know.”
One witness present at the scene said: “The person who stabbed a charedi [orthodox Jewish man] got off a bus, he crossed the street, he went to the line which was waiting outside to get into the bank, there were ten people, this one was charedi, and he went straight and stabbed only the charedi. Why didn’t he go for anyone else? My assumption is 100 percent it was a hate crime.”
If you have any more information, please contact Campaign Against Antisemitism on 0330 822 0321 (selecting option 2) or the police on 101 quoting reference number: CAD2315/12/06/2020.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “The stabbing of Rabbi Alter Yaakov Schlesinger was a heinous act, and we are thankful that he is recovering. We applaud the brave construction workers and passersby who restrained the armed suspect until police arrived, and the suspect has been charged with attempted murder. As one witness pointed out, the suspect targeted only one person on the street that day: a rabbi. It is therefore right that the police are considering a hate crime motive in their investigation. Violent attacks against Jews in some areas of London have become unacceptably routine, and culprits must be subjected to the full force of the law. We urge the community to remain vigilant and ask that anyone with information about this attack contacts us, Shomrim Stamford Hill or the police.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.