Kurdish refugees attacked for being “infidels”

Kurdish migrants were attacked by other migrants in Moria camp, on the Greek Island of Lesbos. The confrontation was reportedly related to Kurdish migrants not fasting for Ramadan.

According to Rudaw Kurdish news agency, some migrants from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Algeria attacked Kurdish families at the camp “for being infidels” and not fasting during the month of Ramadan.

It was initially reported that 3 people had died due to their injuries, but this figure was later updated to reflect the fact that 15 people were injured with 10 of them in severe condition. Police and medical units were called to stop the dispute and transport the injured to medial facilities.

Hundreds of Kurds reportedly left the camp for security reasons after the clashes, and made their way to another camp in Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos. Videos circulating on social media show families and children relocating to the new camp despite reports from local Greek NGOs that the camp in Mytilene doesn’t have enough space to host extra refugees.

Frequent clashes between refugees have been reported in camps, as the authorities do not distinguish the ethnic, national and religious differences between the arriving migrants, often leading to tension. It is not clear if the authorities have sufficient language skills or cultural knowledge to understand the sensitivities among migrants and refugees from different backgrounds.

A mother from Afrin, Syria, who spoke to the authorities pointed out that they don’t have problems with other refugees inside the camp. According to her the attack seemed to have been planned in advance, as the clash was initiated by individuals who came from outside of the camp who she hadn’t seen in the camp before. Additionally some of the attackers had covered their faces.

Currently about 5000 migrants and refugees are living in Moria and another camp, where 3000 are still waiting for the authorities to determine their fate. As part of a deal between the European Union and Turkey to reduce the flow of people to Europe, migrants arriving to the Greek Islands must be returned to Turkey if they don’t qualify for asylum. The asylum process is long and involves a great deal of paperwork, which usually leaves the migrants waiting in the camps for months on end.


TMP – 28/06/2018


Photo caption: Refugees at a camp in Lesbos, Greece.