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Egyptian immigrant attacked in Greece

Growing number of violent incidents aimed at immigrants in Greece prompts embassy warnings

A supporter of extreme-right ultra nationalist party Golden Dawn at a pre-election rally in Athens on June 14. (AFP FILE PHOTO)
A supporter of extreme-right ultra nationalist party Golden Dawn at a pre-election rally in Athens on June 14. (AFP FILE PHOTO)

An Egyptian man was found by residents of the Greek island of Salamina, chained to a tree and beaten.  His employer, a bakery owner, admitted to beating the unnamed Egyptian, telling police he suspected the man had been stealing. The Egyptian was hospitalised but his health condition was not  life-threatening.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded an explanation from Greek officials on Tuesday. According to a statement released by the ministry, the Ambassador to Greece, Tariq Adel, requested that Greece act immediately to provide maximum protection for Egyptian citizens and their property.

Police have refused to release the name of the victim or to comment on the incident, but the ministry identified the victim as Taleb Mohammed Walid. Adel confirmed the details of the incident, which occurred on Sunday, and that charges would be brought against the employer.

This is not the first of such incidents directed at Egyptians in recent months, the ministry statement read. Greece has witnessed an increasing amount of violence aimed at migrant workers since its economic depression saw tough austerity measures placed on its citizens.

“Over the past few months,” Adel said, “there has been a rise in racist/fascist groups and the [Golden Dawn] party has been gaining influence.” He blamed many of the recent attacks on foreigners on Golden Dawn, but stressed it was very important to realise these attacks do not deliberately target Egyptians. “There are thousands of Egyptians living in Greece,” he said. “Because of this the probability of an attack on an Egyptian is high. This trend, these phenomena, is very negative and unfortunate.” He stressed that attacks have been made against Nigerians, Pakistanis, Algerians, Afghanis and many other ethnic groups and were not limited to Egyptians.

As the economic situation in Greece has become increasingly dire, the far-right Golden Dawn Party has gained momentum, securing 18 seats in the parliament. Golden Dawn is known for their staunch anti-immigration stance and has been accused several times of propagating hate crimes against immigrants.

“[The Golden Dawn] has groups on the streets and we are concerned about our community in Egypt,” Adel said. “Whatever the Greeks decide in their elections is their own choice but we do not want to see immigrants being attacked by anyone.” He mentioned that the immigrants have nothing to do with the current economic situation and many of these Egyptians are second or third generation Egyptians that have been living in Greece legally, have jobs and have managed to co-exist peacefully.

“We want to be very clear with the Greek authorities that whatever happens we do not want violence spilling over into the Egyptian community,” Adel said. He also confirmed the embassy had issued several warnings in the past to Egyptians and has recently warned them of escalating violence this coming week, due to a series of protests set to take place.

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