Terrorist assaults on Muslims on rise across Europe

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Unfortunately, Muslims in Europe are anxious ahead of Eid al-Fitr due to increasing terrorist attacks targeting Muslims across Europe. They are concerned about their security of life and property in the EU countries where they have been living for decades. Their mosques and organizations are targeted by far-right and racist terrorist groups. Meanwhile, the PKK terrorist organization has also increased its assaults, targeting mosques and Muslim organizations in Europe.

So far, such assaults have not resulted in casualties since they were mostly done at night, but no one should find solace in that. People might have been in the buildings during the attacks and arsons. Far-right and racist groups and the PKK take courage from their previous attacks after they found out that Muslims are not being protected adequately. This is not a good sign. The police departments in cities in the EU must attach special importance to protecting Muslim organizations and increase security measures.

Here is the latest bitter incident that happened:

Muslims were targeted yesterday by yet another terrorist attack in London. Although London police and some media outlets initially tried to report the attack as a traffic accident, it was revealed that a racist terrorist ran over a group of Muslims who were on their way home from the mosque. The assailant drove into the Muslim group of pedestrians who had just left the Finsbury Park Mosque in North London.

Those who witnessed the incident said that the assailant shouted, "I'm going to kill all Muslims," while driving toward the worshipers.

The EU must immediately put an end to this hypocrisy. No matter whether the assailant is Muslim or Christian, it is a terrorist attack in which people were killed. All of the attacks are the result of the same twisted anti-humanist mindset. Efforts to justify attacks on Muslims in some way hurt Muslims at least as much as the attacks themselves.

Moreover, the latest attack is not the first to target Muslims in Europe. Over the past months, there has been a big leap in the amount of attacks on Muslims across Europe, with each attack spurs a new one.

For instance, Muslims in Germany have requested the recognition of anti-Muslim crimes in a separate category for a long time. Thanks to this recognition, which was the first step to prevent the increasing assaults on mosques, the data required to record the details of attacks in police statistics began to be provided. Germany has taken an exemplary step on the issue even though it came a bit late.

Other European countries must follow Germany's example. The data reveals the legitimacy of our concerns: Within the first three months of this year, 208 assaults and insults targeting Muslims have been recorded in Germany, which is one of the leading EU countries with strict police measures. Two people were injured in those attacks. Also, in the same period, there were 15 attacks on mosques. Given that the number of mosque attacks in Germany was 27 throughout 2016, these 15 attacks only in the first three months of 2017 show that there is an alarming increase in assaults.

Likewise, 36 anti-Islam demonstrations took place in Germany in 2016, while the number of such demonstrations organized in the first quarter of 2017 is 32. This increase is a serious warning that must alarm all democratically minded people.

In addition, assaults on Muslims do not solely consist of terrorist attacks. Muslim Europeans are subjected to various kinds of threats, including provocations on the internet, threatening letters, insulting women who wear headscarves on the streets, damaging buildings that belong to Muslims and drawing Nazi symbols on their walls.

The situation is similar in Austria, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland. Muslim Europeans have increasing concerns about their lives and property. I feel the need to point out this bitter truth ahead of Eid al-Fitr, which will be celebrated in the shadow of such atrocities.

In the face of such threats, European countries should take serious measures as Germany has. The EU and their mutual law enforcement agency, Europol, have to be active on this. Strict, deterrent measures are needed to prevent assaults on Muslims. Terrorism must be eradicated before it poses a greater danger. This is essential for social peace in Europe and in general.

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