(Photo: The Muslim Association of Greece)
Elham Asaad Buaras
A pig’s head was dumped outside an Islamic studies centre in Athens, in a predawn Islamophobic attack on October 17. Vandals spray-painted a crucifix on the door, splashed blue paint on the walls and an anti-Muslim slogan on the pavement outside the Arab-Hellenic Centre, which also functions as a Muslim prayer centre, in the district of Moshato.
Photographs of the defaced building were posted on the Muslim Association of Greece (MAG) facebook.
No arrests have been made.
Greece has experienced an increasing Islamophobic and anti-Semitic violence, in concurrence with the political ascent of Neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn.
A state prosecutor demanded all the party’s MPs face trial for offences including allegedly running a criminal organisation.
Prosecutor Isidoros Dogiakos demanded that 70 party members – including leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos should appear before a criminal court on a series of charges including the murders of an anti-fascist rapper and Pakistani immigrant.
The extreme-right party won 18 seats in the 300-strong Greek Parliament after national elections in June 2012, its ascent precipitated by Greece’s economic crisis and growing unemployment.
Last year its support peaked at 15%, making it the third-most popular party in Greece.
It came third in the latest local and European elections on an anti-bailout anti-EU ticket and performed strongly at local elections in May.
In April Greece was told to toughen its measures to combat a surge in massive racial violence by Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights published a report in which Nils Muižnieks said that he was “seriously concerned” by the increase in hate crimes targeting immigrants in Greece.
“Democracy in Greece is seriously threatened by the upsurge of hate crime and a weak state response. Sustained and concerted action, notably by the police and the courts, is necessary to protect the rule of law and human rights in the country,” said Muižnieks.
The Commissioner noted that there is only one appointed prosecutor to monitor hate crimes in greater Athens as well as police officers tasked to deal with the problem have only been trained for two days.
The Commissioner also expressed deep concern by “persistent reports of ill-treatment, including torture, committed by law enforcement officials notably against migrants and Roma.”
The report describes Golden Dawn as a “neo-Nazi and violent political party” that should be secluded under legally binding international human rights conventions signed by Greece.