ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — The head of the European Jewish Congress said the “racist” killing of an immigrant in Athens was a result of Greece tolerating the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.
“We are witness to an increasing violence against foreigners and minorities in Greece which is the natural result of inaction by the authorities against racist and anti-Semitic hate speech and violent attacks,” EJC President Moshe Kantor said in a statement issued Jan. 22.
The victim, a Pakistani immigrant, was pulled off his motorbike and stabbed to death in downtown Athens by two men in an attack that Greek police said appeared racially motivated.
The killing sparked large anti-racism protests in Athens over the weekend.
Two suspects have been arrested. Police found Golden Dawn pamphlets in the house of one of them.
“Racist violence and murder does not exist in a vacuum,” Kantor said.
“The presence of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, with its paramilitary gangs of thugs on the streets, its swastikas and leaders in Parliament openly inciting against minorities while engaging in Holocaust denial, is a national disgrace for a country that prides itself as the foundation of democracy,” he said.
Golden Dawn swept into the Greek parliament with 19 lawmakers in recent elections, campaigning on an anti-austerity, anti-immigrant platform, preying on the fears of Greeks who have seen the country flooded with immigrants amid a terrible recession.