Turkish families in the Netherlands receive threat letters containing swastika symbols

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

Two Turkish families living in the city of Zaandam in the Netherlands found letters with anti-Islamic expressions and swastikas at their doorstep, along with red paint thrown on their door and windows late Wednesday.

This latest instance of anti-Islamic attacks comes long after a heated election period last year that pitted a far-right party against a conservative party whose leader is known for his hostile stance against Turks.

The letter contained phrases such as, "Die, Muslims" and, "It will be your end if you go to the mosque again."

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Dutch police spokesperson Wendy Boudewijn said they launched an investigation into the incident upon complaints by the families but they had no leads so far on the perpetrators.

The Dutch media did not identify the Turkish residents while a woman identified as Aysel, who was one of the victims of the attack, told Dutch newspapers that they were longtime residents of the neighborhood and never encountered "discrimination" before.

Over the last months and years, the Netherlands has experienced a surge in racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Islam hate attacks which has caused serious concerns among its population.

Prior to the March 2017 elections, tensions were further stirred up by the government targeting Turks. Turkish Foreign Minister Melvüt Çavuşoğlu was barred from meeting the Turkish community while another Turkish minister was ordered to leave the country after police stopped her convoy in an incident that sparked outrage in Turkey.

The Dutch parliament, in September 2017, refused a request by the Denk Party to discuss the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) survey, which found that Muslims in the Netherlands experience discrimination at the highest rate among EU member states.

The survey covers the experiences of Muslim immigrants and their EU-born children, revealing that public attitudes toward Muslims have changed little over the last decade.

The survey was conducted with 10,527 people who identified themselves as Muslims in 15 EU member states from October 2015 to July 2016.

According to the survey results, those who have been discriminated against due to their religion increased from 5 percent to 10 percent in the last five years. However, the Netherlands has the highest discrimination rate in Europe with 30 percent.

The survey found that 39 percent of participants have experienced discrimination in the five years leading up to the survey. Also, 27 percent of the respondents said they knew a friend or family member who has been insulted or called names due to their ethnicity or immigration status in the year before the survey was taken.

In addition, 42 percent of the respondents who were stopped by police over the last year claimed they were targeted because of their migrant or ethnic minority background.

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