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German attackers damage mosque with Nazi swastika 

Date:

BERLIN: A mosque in north western Germany was damaged by painting a swastika on one of its doors, while separately police also admitted its officers failed an investigation over a racist attack targeting a girl from the Muslim community. 

The European country has witnessed growing racism in recent years fuelled by far-right parties, who often exploit fears about the refugee crisis.

Turgut Ulker, head of Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs said on Wednesday, similar attacks on the mosques in Dortmund city in North Rhine-Westphalia state were carried out last month as well. “We demand that the authorities take urgent action and protect our places of worship,” he added.

“We will continue our fight against racism in Dortmund together with all democratic institutions. We will continue to do our best to ensure that Dortmund remains a city of tolerance,” Ulker said.

The police examined Sultan Ahmet Mosque and tried to cover the swastika with spray paint.

Also on Wednesday, authorities confirmed a German-Turkish girl who suffered a racist attack at a Berlin tram station, was falsely accused by police of provoking the assault on her. 

Dilan Sozeri, 17, was hospitalised with wounds on Saturday after she was assaulted by six people who also hurled racial slurs and threats at the teen at the Greifswalder tram stop.

After the incident, German police and several media outlets had blamed Sozeri for provoking the attack and blamed the girl for not wearing a face mask and fighting with passengers in the tram.

After she posted a video on Instagram and provided details of the assault, police released a statement acknowledging the officers had goofed up. 

“After further investigation and examination of the video material, it was now possible to determine that the young woman was wearing a face mask while getting on and off the tram,” police said.

“Most of the six suspected adults were not wearing mouth and nose covers. Investigations are still ongoing,” the statement said.

The Berlin police later identified one of the attackers from his previous criminal records and detained three of the suspects.

Reportedly, they were drunk and released after the identification.

Despite the station being crowded, Sozeri said no one stepped up to help her.

Sozeri said the attackers have called her a “filthy foreigner” and “go back where you came from”.

She also blamed the German media for trying to cover up the racist attack and displaying it as a mask dispute.

“The (German) press have distorted the facts and have spread lies, I had no other option but to address it in this way,” Sozeri said.

German police have long been criticised for lapses and non-seriousness in investigating racist attacks and hate crimes committed by far-right extremists against religious minorities. 

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