Greece: ‘Attack on Muslim cemetery shows rising Islamophobia’

Greece: ‘Attack on Muslim cemetery shows rising Islamophobia’

Greece: ‘Attack on Muslim cemetery shows rising Islamophobia’

A recent attack on a Muslim cemetery in Greece shows the rise of Islamophobia and racism both there and throughout the continent, according to an expert on the region. A Muslim cemetery in the city of Alexandroupolis was found on Tuesday to have suffered an attack by unknown assailants, who left behind damaged tombstones scrawled with racist slogans. The city lies in Western Thrace, a region of Greece with a substantial ethnic Turkish population of about 150,000.

Nazi symbols and the logo of the Greek far-right political party, Golden Dawn, were spray-painted on the Muslim tombstones, and leaflets of the party littered the cemetery. The Golden Dawn leaflets bore the slogan, “Greece belongs to the Greeks.” “This kind of attack in Greece is not happening for the first time, and it will not be the last… This attack is a very good indicator and part of the rising Islamophobia and racism in Europe and Greece in recent years” Ali Huseyinoglu of Trakya University’s Balkan Research Institute, who hails from Western Thrace, told Anadolu Agency…The attack was reported just after the last Sunday’s European Parliament (EP) elections in Greece, according to Huseyinoglu.

Underlining that in that election Greece’s Friendship, Equality and Peace Party (FEP) won the support of ethnic Turks living in the country, Huseyinoglu said this attack may have carried out in response to the party’s success.

According to data from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), of 128 hate crime incidents recorded by Greek police in 2017, only 46 resulted in prosecutions, and a mere six resulted in sentences. Decrying the lack of deterrents against Islamophobic attacks, Huseyinoglu said: “Such Islamophobic attacks are likely to continue because there are no effective sanctions or effective judicial mechanisms.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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