Arson attack on Gdansk mosque follows halal slaughter row

Gdansk mosque arson

A Polish imam has claimed an alleged arson attack on a mosque was “revenge” for the Chief Mufti of Poland’s pledge to continue the banned practice of halal slaughter.

A fire began at the mosque in Gdansk, northern Poland, at about 4.40 am local time on Wednesday, damaging doors and parts of the elevation. The incident coincided with the holiday of Eid-al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, one of the two most important religious observances for Muslims.

The fire followed angry exchanges between Polish Tatars and animal rights activists on Tuesday in the village of Bohoniki in the Podlasie region of north eastern Poland. Chief Mufti of Poland Tomasz Miskiewicz had pledged that ritual slaughter would continue there this year, in spite of a state-imposed ban.

“I am 100 percent certain that this arson was an act of revenge for what happened yesterday in Podlasie,” Gdansk imam Hani Hraish told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.“We have been striving for positive relationships with everyone… in recent years,” he said. “We have always had positive reactions, and now something like this happens.”

Initial estimates for covering the cost of the damage are 50,000 zloty (12,000 euro)., 16 October 2013

Update:  AFP reports that Grazyna Wawryniuk, spokeswoman for the regional prosecutor in Gdansk, has confirmed: “It was definitely arson.”