Muslim cultural center attacked in Warsaw amid surge in ‘racist’ incidents

Muslim cultural center attacked in Warsaw amid surge in ‘racist’ incidents
A Muslim cultural center, including a mosque, has been attacked in Warsaw. Police in the Polish capital are looking for the culprits, while a local Muslim community leader is sure that the attack was a “racist” one.

Windows were smashed overnight on Sunday at the center that includes a mosque, a meeting center for Muslims, a shop and a restaurant. Security footage is being reviewed to identify those behind the assault, in which luckily no one was injured, Warsaw police spokesman Mariusz Mrozek said. Police have also appealed to the public to help catch the attackers, asking for witnesses to come forward.

"I am 100 percent sure this was a racist, anti-Muslim attack," leader of a Muslim community in Poland, imam Youssef Chadid told the media, as quoted by AP. There are two mosques in the capital of the largely Catholic country, including the one at the center that was attacked. Warsaw's Muslim community consists of some 22,000 people.

In a separate incident Saturday, right-wing radicals staged a protest in the city of Katowice in southern Poland. On a mock gallows, they hung pictures of six Polish lawmakers and members of the European Parliament, calling them "traitors." Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the case, which Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has described as an "act of aggression and intolerance."

READ MORE: ‘Beautiful sight’: Polish govt defends nationalist march on Independence Day

This month, to mark the country's Independence Day, around 60,000 people took part in a massive rally in Warsaw, organized by far-right groups under the "We want God" slogan. Slogans such as "White Europe of Brotherly Nations,""No to Islam," and "Jews out of Poland" were also used by demonstrators.

While the event, dominated by anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim chanting, was described as one of the biggest nationalist gatherings in Europe in recent years, Polish authorities claimed there were only "unfortunate incidents" at the rally and called the event in general as an expression of patriotism. The EU Parliament strongly condemned the "xenophobic and fascist march."