‘Everyone should know where terrorists live:’ Polish radicals to create Muslim database
The plan, which they have called ‘Muslimwatch,’ has chilling similarities to segregation policies in Poland in the late 1930s, according to a former Polish Imam.
“The initiative by the Polish Defense League (PDL) reminds me of the ‘Ghetto Benches’ before the war. We all know how that ended after 1939. The same could happen here. Someone will think of an Auschwitz for Muslims. It’s dangerous,” said Selim Chazbijewicz, who is a Polish Tatar and the former Imam for the Muslim community in Gdansk.
Ghetto Benches were a form of segregation used in the 1930’s, which forced Jews in a number of universities to sit apart from the other students.
Dariusz Mazurek, head of the PDL, said on his Facebook page that the organization wants to create an online platform, which would contain a database of Polish Muslims. This would include information about where they live, work and photographs.
“Citizens have a right to know where Muslims live. We will be publishing their addresses and their names,” he said.
Polish Defence League with us today pic.twitter.com/XEgaFdz2Va
— englishdefenceleague (@EDLofficialpage) April 4, 2015
Mazurek says this was not the PDL’s initiative, rather he claims it has the backing of the Polish people. He told the Polish website NaTemat.pl that he is hoping the public will do their bit to get the database started, while adding that if Muslims found this offensive, they were welcome to take him to court.
“Every citizen of our country could take pictures of a Muslim, say in a car with a registration plate. Or they could take a picture of a group of Muslims in a bar, or another place where they might meet, be it in a cultural center or a mosque. These pictures will then be uploaded to the website,” the leader of the PDL said.
The PDL, who have closed links to the anti-Muslim English Defence League, says the website is currently being built and will be launched “very soon.” The idea is similar to the ‘Redwatch’ website, set up by the far-right British People’s Party to reveal the identities of anti-fascists and socialists.
“Everyone has the right to know where a potential terrorist lives – be it in the same area, or a floor below. Educated people took part in the July 2005 terrorist attacks in Britain. The 9/11 terrorist attacks were carried out by a psychiatrist. A terrorist does not mean a member of the Taliban walking in a long robe. It can apparently be a normal and educated person,” Mazurek said.
Chazbijewicz is debating the legality of the proposed ‘Muslimwatch,’ saying he believes it will fall foul of Poland’s data protection laws.
“Such a register would be against the law. Poland is a democratic and secular country. I am sure the PDL will try and implement this, but I hope the response from the authorities will be quick,” the former Gdansk Imam said.
Poland has one of the smallest Muslim community’s in Europe, with between 20,000 and 40,000 living in the country, including 3,000 Tatars. The Polish Tatar population has long been established in Poland, after settling during the Middle Ages.
However, a recent poll conducted by the Centre for Public Opinion Research, based in Warsaw, found that 44 percent of Poles have a negative view of Muslims, while 64 percent of respondents in the 2015 survey say Muslims are intolerant of customs and values other than their own.
“Actions taken against Muslims are something new in Poland. They are targeting a tiny fraction of the population, who make up less than a percent. This is dangerous and we will notify the police,” Rafal Pankowski, from the group Nigdy Wiecej (Never Again), told the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.
“This is a paradox in terms of what is happening in a country, which is now ethnically homogenous, though in the past it was known for being multicultural,” he added.
This is not the first time the PDL have tried anti-Islam stunts. In December 2013, they started patrols in large cities to “observe how Muslims behave and to intervene,” read a statement on its official website.
The PDL said it would warn Polish women about the “threats” of getting involved with Muslim men, the Gazeta Wyborcza reported.
A post on the PDL’s website described a visit to a nightclub in Warsaw, where activists from the organization were “defending the honor of Polish women,” after seeing Muslims dancing with Polish girls.
"We walked between the dancers and parted them. This was much more effective than simply talking to the ladies," the website says, as citied by thenews.pl.
The PDL’s paranoia of Islam even went as far initiating a so-called, “bacon action” against Muslims, which saw the organization send pieces of pork to an Islamic cultural center.