Warsaw Muslim centre attack renews Islamophobia fears


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Warsaw, Poland – On the evening of Friday, November 27, two men in hoodies vandalised the Muslim cultural centre in Warsaw, breaking house windows with stones and pieces of concrete.

The attack took blueprint amid deepening Islamophobia in Poland, the effect Muslims comprise a mere Zero.1 % of the inhabitants.

CCTV photographs confirmed the incident, but in the darkness of evening, the attackers’ faces are unrecognisable.

« I am hoping that the perpetrators shall be caught soon », said Mariusz Blaszczak, minister of internal.

To this point, the men have now now not been named.

Contemporary events are part of a politically fuelled, frightful atmosphere of xenophobia and racism in Poland.

Anna Lukjanowicz, Polish Muslim convert

« This turn out to be once now now not the first attack against our centre, » said Anna Lukjanowicz, a Polish convert to Islam who works at the institute, citing three outdated attacks.

In October this year, a masked man threw a bottle against the entrance door, leaving visible marks.

« Contemporary events are part of a politically fuelled, frightful atmosphere of xenophobia and racism in Poland, » she informed Al Jazeera. « Thanks to the verbal and bodily attacks against now now not most efficient Muslims, but additionally of us that ‘seek like Muslims’ – that’s of us with a darker pores and skin, and the attack against the Muslim Custom Centre, Muslims residing in Poland are shedding the sense of security. »

The Muslim cultural centre blends Heart Japanese and European structure sorts [Courtesy:Muslim cultural centre]

Done in 2015, the centre’s structure blends Heart Japanese custom and European trends.

It hosts conference halls, a library and the ideally correct prayer room in Poland, with house for 600 of us.

Initially of 2017, the centre’s workers wrote to Polish officials, including the president, the pinnacle minister, both chambers of parliament and all parliamentary parties, expressing their impart of affairs with the « biased media protection of Islam and its of us » to boot to the « consolidation of anti-Muslim attitudes » in the political debate.

In step with the authors, these could also lead to the broaden in xenophobia and violence against Muslims.

In, 2016, police figures revealed the second best likely series of abominate crime incidents after 2015, with 765 reported cases of violence. In 2014, police recorded 262 incidents.

In 2016, local prosecutor workplaces investigated 1,631 abominate crimes fuelled by racism, anti-Semitism or xenophobia.

Since 2015, the series of attacks against Muslims rose from 192 to 362, adopted by attacks against Jews and Roma of us.

‘No direct condemnation’ from officials

In Can also 2016, High Minister Beata Szydlo abolished an anti-discrimination council that turn out to be once tasked with combating xenophobia and intolerance.

The Muslim cultural centre’s letters generated shrimp response from the authorities. In basically the most efficient acknowledge, without reference to evidence to the contrary, the office of the Senate said bodily attacks against the centre had been now now not going.

There are virtually no refugees right here, however the hysterical manner throughout which the topic turn out to be once mentioned, feeble and manipulated for political ends has contributed to the broaden in violence.

Anna Tatar, from the anti-racist By no method As soon as more Association

« Facts from the Polish custom and history demonstrate that Christian Orthodox of us, Protestants, Jews, Tatars, Ukrainians and Belarusians lived in peace with Poles in our nation, making a huge contribution to its constructing, » the response read.

« Other than reporting on stressful events, which happen in some nations of Western Europe, now we have now now not seen any references in direction of the Muslim community, which has been residing in Poland for years, that will likely be value condemning ».

Nonetheless, in accordance to Anna Tatar from the anti-racist By no method As soon as more Association, which has been monitoring abominate crime incidents in Poland for the explanation that 1990s, the political legend in accordance to the refugee crisis has contributed to the broaden in anti-Muslim sentiment in Poland.

« The foremost cause of this exchange is the sort the Polish debate regarding the humanitarian crisis and the imaginable acceptance of refugees turn out to be once performed. Here is an self-discipline which does now now not impart of affairs Poland at all because there are virtually no refugees right here, however the hysterical manner throughout which the topic turn out to be once mentioned, feeble and manipulated for political ends has contributed to the broaden in violence, » Tatar said.

« There are a series of examples of statements made by representatives of the authorities, which demonstrate that they cease now now not are making an are attempting to glimpse the peril or that they neglect it. For instance, at the newest ‘Independence March’, a series of openly racist banners had been impress. Yet, there turn out to be once neutral about no direct condemnation of the events, » she said, an belief shared by the broader Muslim community.

Some 60,000 of us joined the « Independence March » attended by some nationalists and fascists in Warsaw on November 11 – more of us than the Polish Muslim inhabitants of round 35,000 – the effect chants included: « The total Poland sings with us: f*** off with the refugees. »

« Public media and nationalist web web sites discriminate against Islam and Muslims and manipulate the general public belief, making an are attempting to convince Poles that Islam is a faith of violence, apprehension, that it is feeble, » said Imam Youssef Hadid, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Muslim League in Poland.

« There are debates and lectures which unfold hatred in direction of Muslims, of us which will likely be invited to be in contact at them have xenophobic and Islamophobic views, have not got any data of Islam, and of us that specialise in it are now now not invited. »

‘Neutral trouble’ and rising Islamophobia

A stare by the Heart for Analysis on Prejudice published in September 2015, came all the method in which thru that though 80 % of Poles cease now now not know any Muslims, two-thirds characterize that they’d feel uncomfortable of their presence.

Bigger than half of of respondents said that Muslims threaten Poland’s financial smartly-being and Polish values, and an identical number agreed with Islamophobic statements. Youthful respondents demonstrated a higher stage of trouble.

« What we are at this time observing is a neutral trouble. Polish society is easy to manipulate. Public belief polls demonstrate that we are the first in the EU by manner of viewing social media as a legit source of data regarding the field. Over half of of Poles trust social media, » said Adam Balcer, a Warsaw-primarily based mostly researcher for the European Council on International Family. « The Polish web is terribly heavenly flit and nationalistic, and as a result, Polish adolescence has a unfavorable angle in direction of Muslims. »

Since the nation has one in every of basically the most ethnically and religiously homogenous societies in Europe with a minute Muslim minority, the heavenly flit plays on irrational fears.

« The authorities, that are openly Islamophobic, situation the example. This falls on a fertile ground of fears and phobias, which replicate some deeply rooted stereotypes, » said Balcer.

He when put next the newest atmosphere to the interwar length and the unique attitudes in direction of Muslims to the sooner impart of affairs of Jews.

« A Jew feeble to be portrayed as oriental, the opposite, an jap man, incapable of assimilating and integrating, who could also raze the nation, » he outlined.

« Those cliches most efficient needed to be revived. You furthermore mght can witness them in the newest fears of the Law and Justice’s voters which consist of the alliance of [George] Soros and the Germans to raze Poland’s ethnic cohesion by bringing in refugees ».

Some Polish of us supplied sympathy after the attack on the centre in Warsaw [Courtesy: Muslim cultural centre]

Following the attack at the Muslim cultural centre, some Poles sent messages condemning the incident and expressing unity. Others arrived at the scene and brought candles.

On November 29, a community of activists organised a affirm in Warsaw beneath the slogan « No to Islamophobia ».

Representatives of the Jewish community have additionally expressed their remorse relating the attack, acknowledging the upward thrust in unfavorable attitudes in direction of minorities in Poland.

« Poles are a hospitable nation, they’re tolerant and respectful of of us of alternative faiths, but unfortunately politics pushes them to unfold nationalism and abominate in direction of Muslims, » Imam Hadid said.

The vandalisation of the centre turn out to be once a reminder of rising racism in Poland [Courtesy: Muslim cultural centre]

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