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Civic Nation Unity in Deversity

Treatment of Minorities

Treatment of Minorities Ethnic Minorities in Greece.

Greece is a multinational country. The massive influx of migrants and the inability of the authorities to integrate them, coupled with the grave economic crisis led to the growth of xenophobic sentiments in the country a few years ago. Measures taken by the government to combat hate crimes and radicalism have not yet affected the overall level of xenophobia in Greek society.

According to the polls conducted by an American agency pewglobal.org, Greeks have the strongest negative feelings towards Roma people - 67%. This is the second worst indicator in Europe, exceeded only by Italy (82%).

Attitude towards the Jewish community has somewhat improved. The level of anti-Semitism in Greece fell to 55% in 2015, compared with 69% in 2014, however, this is still the highest level in Europe.

In 2015, 65% of the population of Greece expressed negative attitude towards Muslims. Interestingly, this sentiment is worse in Hungary and Poland, where the level of Islamophobia is 72% and 66%, respectively.

However, most common negative attitude in Greece is aimed at migrants – 72%. This level has not changed for two years. Nevertheless, authorities, together with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), are doing everything possible to improve the attitude of the Greeks towards migrants. These efforts seem to be effective.

For example, in 2015, the government and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, conducted a survey among the refugees themselves. It allowed to compile a sociological portrait of an average immigrant from Syria. As it turned out, 86% of refugees have higher or secondary education, with the students being the largest group among the respondents. Many were separated from their families and lost contact with them, 6% were unaccompanied or separated from their families. 5% were victims of torture, 65% said they did not have specific needs. The majority of the refugees surveyed intended to apply for asylum in other EU countries, primarily in Germany. This information was immediately replicated by local newspapers, which not only reduced the level of tension, but also led to an increase in monetary donations from the Greeks to the needs of refugees.

According to polls, the Greeks are tolerant towards sexual minorities - 38% in 2015, which is 2% below the level of homophobia in 2014 in this country. However, according to a study conducted in 2013 by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, 26% of LGBT people and 45% of transsexuals did not report threats and attacks against them from fears of a homophobic or transphobic reaction of the police.

Homophobia, like xenophobia, is actively supported by prominent representatives of the Orthodox Church. The Bishop of Thessalonica Anfimos in June 2014 called homosexuality “the perversion of human existence.”

On September 18, Metropolitan Amvrosios of Kalavryta and Aigialeia spoke against the anti-racism law.

“Tomorrow, when the anti-racist bill comes into force, all those who speak of homeland and patriotism risk being imprisoned. A priest who would speak against Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religions can be declared a racist and locked behind bars,” Metropolitan said. He added that Greeks will become slaves for Muslim and strangers on their own land.”

On September 26, Metropolitan of Piraeus Serafim published an article criticising the government for adopting an anti-racism law. He said that the law changes the legal culture and values of the Greek society, while restricting free speech. He also criticised the government for protecting non-traditional sexual orientations, calling these changes “fascist”.

On October 20, Metropolitan Amvrosios said that Greece has been “surrendered” to foreign “conquerors”, blaming it on Zionism, Freemasons and Bilderberg club.

On December 29, Holy Kinot of Mt. Athos opposed the opening of an Islamic centre at the Faculty of Theology in Thessaoniki. He said that this “clearly contradicts the patristic teachings” and that it is a “serious mistake”. According to him, this step is aimed directly against theology and the Orthodox Church itself.

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