The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE), in collaboration with the Geek General Secretariat for Religious Affairs and the MOHA Research Center, organised the presentation of the Greek translation of the guide “Understanding Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes – Addressing the Security Needs of Muslim Communities”, which was held on Friday, December 10, at 9:30 a.m. in the Imaret Hotel’s conference hall.
Every year, many citizens of the European Union are victims of hate crimes, including against Muslims. Violence has its roots in intolerance and discrimination, which pose a threat not only to citizens, but also to the society and its cohesion. Recognizing the need to address stereotypes and all forms of violence, with the aim to protect the freedoms of citizens, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights has compiled a practical guide, recently published in Greek. The guide’s digital edition is available at the link: https://www.osce.org/odihr/muslim-security-guide.
Representatives of the Greek government, members of Greece’s Muslim communities, prosecutors and police authorities and academics discussed the root causes of intolerance and hate crimes against Muslims in Greece. The aim was to explore the possibilities to create a comprehensive response together with the relevant local, national and international authorities to the phenomena of religious discrimination and violence.
The event was held in Greek and English with simultaneous interpretation throughout and was broadcasted online via Zoom.
9.30 – 9.50 Introductory Remarks
George Kalantzis, General Secretary of Religious Affairs
Matteo Mecacci, Director, ODIHR
9.50-10.10 Keynote speaker
Eleutherios Oikonomou, Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection
10:10 – 11.10 Manifestations of intolerance against Muslims, security needs and challenges of Muslim communities in Greece and responses by law enforcement authorities
Moderator: Margarita Pournara, Kathimerini Newspaper journalist
George Kalantzis, General Secretary for Religious Affairs
Anna Missirian, President of the MOHA Research Center
Akis Karatrantos, Security Policy Advisor at the Minister of State
Mohamed Elzahabi, President of the Religious Committee of the Mosque of Athens
Ilknour Kigintzi, Member of the Muslim Minority of Thrace, teacher
Aiten Damadoglou. Member of the Muslim Minority of Thrace, Quran teacher
11.10– 11.30 Presentation of ODIHR’s practical guide “Understanding Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes – Addressing the Security Needs of Muslim Communities”
Sabrina Saoudi, Adviser on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims, Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Department, ODIHR
Following the presentations of the speakers, a special workshop followed with the participation of police, security forces and members of the Muslim community. Under the guidance of Mr. Tome Shekerdjiev, Project Officer of ODIHR (Words into Action Project), Muslim residents of Thrace and police officers of Northern Greece developed a dialogue on combating intolerance and the practical protection of Muslim communities.