Muslims rally in Spain against surge in anti-Islamic crimes after terror attacks

Published 23.08.2017 22:53
Updated 23.08.2017 23:47

Two hundred Muslims rallied in the streets of Granada, southern Spain, on Wednesday in protest against a surge in anti-Islamic hate crimes following last week's deadly attacks in the country.

The protest was called after the city's main mosque was attacked with flares on Saturday by a handful of members from a far-right group, Hogar Social, who also unfurled a Spanish flag outside building, according to images on Spanish TV.

Muslim groups have reported a jump in anti-Islamic hate incidents since the twin vehicle attacks in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils that killed 15 people last Thursday. Those attacks were claimed by the Daesh terror group.

"It is very important for us to affirm our values as Muslims which are the same as those of all other human beings on this planet," said Nizar Liemlahi, the director the Dar Loughat Muslim cultural association, one of the co-organizers of the rally.

The protesters brandished banners with slogans such as "I am Muslim and I want to live in peace" and "We also are victims" as they gathered outside Granada city hall.

Mounir Benjell, head of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities (FEERI), said the increase in anti-Islamic incidents since the attacks was "unbearable".

"Unfortunately, after what happened, there is an avalanche of cases. In my 25 years in Spain I have not seen anything like it."

Vandals have defaced mosques with racist graffiti and some people have posted videos on social media sites calling for the expulsion of all Muslims, he said.

About 1,000 Muslims marched in Barcelona on Monday against terrorism.

Mosques in the cities of Granada, Fuenlabrada, Logrono and Seville have been desecrated.

In the southern city of Seville, vandals defaced a mosque by painting "Stop Islam!" and "Murderers, you will pay for it!"

In Grenada, a dozen members of a right-wing group allegedly attacked a mosque with smoke bombs and flares while chanting anti-Islamic slogans.

There has also been an apparent spike in crimes against individuals, with reports of random attacks against Muslims. A 14-year-old from Morocco was assaulted in Puerto de Sagunto by an assailant who repeatedly threatened to kill him.

Fifteen people were killed and 120 wounded when vehicles were deliberately rammed into pedestrians in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils.

Police say a 12-member terrorist cell was behind the carnage. The four surviving members - three Moroccans and one Spaniard - are facing murder and terrorism charges.

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