Extremist groups escalate Islamophobia in Europe: attacks on mosques

Swedish police say five injured in arsonist attack at mosque in country, another attack leaves insulting figures in Austria

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Five people injured when an arsonist attacked at a mosque in Sweden on Thursday, and another attack took place in Austria, leaving insulting figures outside a mosque in the same day.

There were around 20 people inside when the arsonist threw a burning object through the mosque’s window in Sweden, police told reporters during a news conference. Sweden’s Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said it was a coward attack on religious freedom and on individuals. “Our country must stand up against xenophobia and Islamophobia, and stand for basic human rights,” said Johansson.

“We cannot accept it in Sweden.''

The incident happened at Christmas Day while a debate was taking place in Sweden led by far-right Sweden Democrat party.

Another incident took place at a mosque in the capital of Austria in the same day. Muslim prayers found nose of a pig and a pork paunch hanging at the door of the mosque when they went there for the morning pray. The mosque’s association president Yasin Sertgul said the police haven’t been paying enough attention to such actions. “This cannot be an act of a normal human being,” said Sertgul.

“We will not take such provocations.”

Islamophobia has risen more than ever in European society, as recent incidents show that there is growing intolerance due to fear of ISIS. Islamophobia is one of the most violent and frequent forms of racist violence and discrimination in Europe today. But it remains unrecognised, leaving the EU powerless in quantifying and countering this phenomenon, said Elsa Ray, spokeswoman of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), a member organisation of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR).

The reports also show that mosques are being vandalised almost every week around Europe. There are around 44 million Muslim people living in Europe now, and this number is expected to climb more than 58 million, according to a new research by the US-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

TRTWorld and agencies