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GAZETA WYBORCZA

Kebab Violence And Blatant Racism In Poland

Polish flag at a Nov. 11 march in Warsaw
Polish flag at a Nov. 11 march in Warsaw
Lukasz Woznicki

-Analysis-

WARSAW — In Poland, hatred is clearly fueling violence. But after six racist attacks were registered in a four-day period, this was the reaction from the country's Interior Minister: ""There is no racism in Poland.""

The victims of these attacks are foreigners from the Polish cities of Wrocław, Legnica. Lublin and Ozorków. Four kebab bars were attacked. "We need the government to react," pleads Rafał Dutkiewicz, the mayor of Wrocław, the largest city in western Poland. "In Poland we have no problem with hatred," responds Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.

The attacks were apparently spurred by the the New Year's killing of a 21-year-from the mid-sized city of Ełk after an argument in front of the kebab bar; the suspected killer is of Tunisian origin. What followed first was a mass online attack on Muslims. But the racists did not actually need an excuse to attack foreigners since the first racist attack in the New Year happened before the Elk attack had been broadcast by the media.

On New Year's Eve in Lublin two young men smashed window at the Superkebab bar and wrote ""F**k ISIS"" and ""F**k Islam"" on the shop's walls, doors and windows. "Already a week ago somebody came here and called us names. We were threatened," said the owner Shully Parvez.

Last Sunday, the violence escalated in Ełk. Hundreds of residents met in front of the Prince Kebab bar, where the New Year's killing took place. According to the prosecutor, the owner of the bar — an Algerian and a Tunisian worker ran after a man who had stolen two bottles of Coca-Cola. The Tunisian is accused of stabbing the man three times.

Source: kh hot news

A vigil for the victim quickly descended into riots, as the crowd began to smash windows and destroy the bar's interior, chanting threats against immigrants. Another bar attack followed the next night. A masked man smashed a window at the Kebab House bar in Wrocław. The shop's manager, a non-Muslim named Serdar Darwish from Kurdistan, said that all Poles think that kebab shops are run by Muslims.

Worse in France or Germany?

Last Monday night, four men started shouting "Osama, Osama" at a resident of Ozorków, Pakistani-born Asmat Ullah. He would wind up in the hospital. "I did not understand what they wanted," Ullah recalled. "They asked whether I was a Muslim. When I said yes, they started to beat me."

On Tuesday night another kebab shop in Wrocław was attacked. Dutkiewicz, mayor of Wrocław, condemned the attacks. ""I do not accept racist and xenophobic behavior in our city," he said. "I want every resident of Wrocław to feel safe, regardless of where they come from."" He asked the police for more intense prevention and rapid pursuit of the suspects. ""I have this very strong feeling that something wrong is going on in Poland," Dutkiewicz said.

But the reaction from Warsaw that local leaders are seeking has not arrived. On Wednesday, Interior Minister Błaszczak offered this analysis: "Hate crimes are very marginal in Poland," he said. "It's much worse outside our borders. In Germany and France they have those kind of problems, the consequence of multicultural politics, political correctness and opening the borders in Germany and France for the influx of refugees from Middle East and North Africa."

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