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Greece witnessed an increase in anti-Semitism in 2012, following the election of members of the extreme right-wing party Golden Dawn to the country’s Parliament, according to the annual US State Department’s report on international religious freedom.
The report characterises Golden Dawn as “a political party openly espousing anti-Semitism and racism and linked to violent attacks against individuals perceived to be immigrants.”
Some anti-Semitic and racist incidents were condemned by the Greek government, states the report, although “observers called on the authorities to do more to counter hate speech and the violent actions of Golden Dawn members.”
The annual US State Department’s report on international religious freedom adds that there were also incidents of “harassment and increasingly violent physical attacks against individuals perceived to be immigrants and refugees, many of whom were Muslim” while “expressions of anti-Semitism increased after voters elected members of Golden Dawn to parliament.”
Further to this, the report suggests the Greek Orthodox Church exercised considerable influence, while some non-Orthodox citizens complained of being treated with suspicion when they spoke of their religious affiliations.
“Members of non-Orthodox religious groups reported incidents of societal discrimination. Members of the Muslim minority in Thrace were under-represented in public sector employment, and no Muslim military personnel advanced to officer ranks,” says the report.
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