Vandals desecrate Poland’s historic mosque

The mosque in Kruszyniany. Photo: PAP/Artur Reszko

An 18th century mosque and gravestones in the adjoining cemetery have been vandalised in the village of Kruszyniany, north east Poland.

The incident apparently occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning, just after Polish Tatars began observing Ramadan on Saturday.

The culprit sprayed a vast pig onto the side of the mosque, which is one of Poland’s oldest Muslim houses of worship still used by the country’s Tatar community.

“It’s a very regrettable thing – incomprehensible,” said Kruszyniany’s Muslim community leader Bronislaw Talkowski.

He stressed that the Tatars live in harmony with their neighbours, and that the act of vandalism is unprecedented.

A patriotic symbol used during the Nazi German occupation of World War II, the so-called “Kotwica” (Anchor), was also sprayed onto the mosque, as well as on some gravestones.

Composed of the letters p and w, the anchor stands for “Polska Walczaca” (Fighting Poland).

Islam in Poland

The first ever written account of Poland was recorded by Muslim historian Ibrahim ibn Jakub from Cordoba in the 10th century.

Islam continued to spread in the 14th century by Tatars who settled in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The first significant migration of non-Tatar Muslims was in Poland in the 1970s.

Currently the total number of Muslims in Poland is estimated at around 31,000, of which 5000 are Tatars.

Owing to assimilation over the centuries, many Poles have Tatar backgrounds.

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