Muslim schoolgirls from Germany describe racism during Holocaust trip to Poland

Anti-Muslim protesters in Poland [Source: Al Jazeera]

Muslim schoolgirls from Germany who visited Holocaust memorials in Poland say they were racially abused by locals during their trip.

The girls from a school in Berlin described their encounters on Deutschlandfunk radio.

Four of the girls who were wearing the hijab say they were abused.

One girl said a man had spat on her in the street in Lublin whilst the police stood their idly grinning.

Another girl said she was kicked out of a shop for speaking Persian on the phone to her brother.

She told the radio station: “They came up to me and said ‘can you leave, you’re disturbing the people here’. And I thought: Why? Just because I’m speaking Persian and I’m a foreigner? Yes.”

A Lublin police statement issued yesterday said “the trip participants did not report any complaints to Lublin police officers”.

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The schoolgirls approached two policemen in English, who “heard from the people translating that there was no problem”.

The statement added: “The people exchanged polite smiles”.

It also said local police had examined CCTV footage, but it did “not show any incident involving foreigners”.

The Muslim schoolgirls said that a market stallholder in Lublin refused to sell them water because they were foreigners.

In another incident, one girl was allegedly threatened with a knife.

One girl described that in Lodz “a woman just came up to me and shouted ‘get out!’ and threw her drink over me and my camera – she said ‘get lost!'”

The girls were among a group of 20 children – mainly Muslims – from the Theodor Heuss Community School in Berlin.

Poland’s right-wing government has refused to take in Muslim refugees from Syria, stating that they would “struggle to integrate” in the country’s Catholic-majority society.

Defending Poland’s policy, Science and Higher Education Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said “every nation and people has a right to protect itself from extinction”.

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