Greece: Muslim anger ignites violent new response
“Unrest in Greece’s community of Muslim immigrants is something new, analysts say. ‘For so many years, they’ve been scared and defensive,’ said Takis Geros, a lecturer of anthropology of the Middle East at Panteion University. ‘To suddenly come out in broad daylight with their faces exposed and trash 75 cars indicates a massive change in attitude.'” More onÂ this story.
“Muslim anger ignites violent new response,” by Iason Athanasiadis for theÂ Washington Times, May 25:
Far-right-wing vigilantes burned a makeshift mosque in Athens over the weekend after Muslim immigrants in Athens attacked police with rocks and bottles over an incident in which a policeman reportedly defaced a Koran.Â
Although Greece has a history of political violence from radical leftists and anarchists,Â sectarian bloodletting represents an entirely modern phenomenon.
The latest incident began with a policeman who made an identification spot check on an immigrant from Iraq. When word spread that the policeman had ripped and stomped on the suspect’s Koran, things got ugly.
Chanting “God is great” and waving leather-bound copies of Islam’s holy book, about 1,000 Muslim immigrants demonstrated with a march on Parliament Friday.
When the crowd dwindled to about 300, remaining protesters began throwing rocks and bottles at police and smashing windows at a luxury hotel in central Syntagma Square, according to an account by the Associated Press.
Far-right-wing vigilantes replied over the weekend by setting fire to a Muslim prayer hall. Taken together, the incidents represent some of the worst sectarian violence witnessed in modern Greece.
A spokesman for the GreekÂ police claimed that the policeman did not rip up a Koran, but a folded and glued sheet of paper containing unidentifiable writing in Arabic.
“The isolated and under-inquiry incident does not excuse rioting by individuals committed to damaging citizens property and seriously disturbing the citys social and economic life,” said Christos Markogiannakis, the deputy interior minister. “The state will not permit such radical behavior.”
Unrest in Greece’s community of Muslim immigrants is something new, analysts say.
“For so many years, they’ve been scared and defensive,” said Takis Geros, a lecturer of anthropology of the Middle East at Panteion University. “To suddenly come out in broad daylight with their faces exposed and trash 75 cars indicates a massive change in attitude.”
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Muslim Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia cross into Greece illegally every year from neighboring Turkey or by sea…
* Hmm, and why would that be…?