Jewish people are afraid to display their faith overtly following a rise of antisemitic incidents, a Harrow councillor has said.

Cllr Marilyn Ashton (Con, Stanmore Park), called on Harrow Council to provide the necessary support to the borough’s Jewish community to help address this issue.

She told a council cabinet meeting yesterday (Thursday, May 27) the Jewish community is “living in fear”, with many Jewish men wary of wearing religious skullcaps in public “for fear of being beaten up”.

She also referenced reports of mezuzahs – cases containing scripture affixed to doors in Jewish homes – being ripped off and antisemitic graffiti in parts of Harrow.

It comes following a rise in reports of antisemitism in London, fuelled in part by the recent violence in Israel and Palestine.

Cllr Ashton said some people use events in the Middle East as “an excuse to jump on the bandwagon and have a go at Jewish people” and suggested more needs to be done to address this since “it is nothing new”.

Responding to these concerns, Cllr Peymana Assad (Lab, Roxeth), who is responsible for community cohesion, crime, and enforcement at Harrow Council, said it has a “zero tolerance” approach to antisemitism.

“We need to show solidarity with the Jewish community to make sure they know we stand shoulder to shoulder with them,” she said.

“I condemn all forms of violence in Israel and Palestine – this violence should not impact community relations in Harrow”.

She added she intends to directly contact all Jewish community leaders and synagogues in Harrow to outline the council’s strategy on these issues.

And she called for cross-party support on the matter, offering to work with Cllr Ashton or any other concerned councillors, since it is “an issue of unity among our communities” rather than politics.