The Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging Uruguay to take action, following last week's murder of a Jew by a man who shouted “Allahu Akbar”.
The Jewish merchant, David Fremd, was stabbed to death by a convert to Islam in the town of Paysandu, near the border with Argentina.
The Uruguayan government later said the attacker acted alone and had no ties to foreign terrorist groups, but the Simon Wiesenthal Center nevertheless expressed concern in its letter to Uruguayan President, Tabaré Vázquez.
"The murderer's cry of Allahhu Akbar (Allah is Great) points to the transplantation of Islamist terrorism from the Middle East to Latin America … From the knife to the bullet to the bomb is the terrorist route exposed by the assassinated AMIA atrocity Prosecutor, Alberto Nisman…Gaza has no place in Uruguay," wrote Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Center's Director for International Relations, in the letter which was also posted on the Center's website.
Dr. Ariel Gelblung, the Center’s Latin American Representative, added that "the deliberate stabbing attack of a Jew must be investigated as a hate crime whose anti-Semitic intent aggravates the weight of the penalty. It should also create a bond of sympathy between Uruguay, Israel, France and the community of other countries victim to terror."
"We urge the Uruguayan authorities to act firmly against Jew-hatred and related targets of bigotry. Indeed, a hemispheric approach is necessary to keep the Middle East out of the Americas," concluded the Center officials.
Uruguay has not been in the headlines for anti-Semitic attacks in recent years, but last summer an Uruguayan army bomb squad dismantled an "incomplete" explosive device in front of an office tower housing the Israeli embassy.
Last January, authorities in Uruguay detonated what turned out to be a fake bomb found near the Israeli embassy.
Uruguay later expelled a senior Iranian diplomat the planting of the dummy bomb.