The Köprülü Mosque in the Cypriot city of Limassol was petrol bombed and had graffiti written on its outer walls just days after Turkey allowed Islamic readings to be read in Hagia Sofia.
The religious leaders of the five main faith communities of Cyprus, the Greek Orthodox, Muslims, Armenian Orthodox, Maronites and Latin Catholics, who form the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden, released a joint statement condemning the attack.
“We categorically condemn any and all acts of vandalisation and disrespect done to sacred places of worship. We are horrified to see such acts of violence and expression of Islamophobia, xenophobia and discrimination,” the joint statement said.
Statement by the Religious Leaders of Cyprus condemning the attack to Köprülü Mosque in Limassol 1.6.20We, the…
The Mayor of Limassol, Nikos Nikolaidis, also condemned the vandalism committed by unknown assailants. Speaking on ANT1‘s “Mera Mesimeri” show, he noted that certainly any phenomena that promote xenophobia and racism are foreign to Cyprus, as they are a hospitable society.
Speaking outside the mosque, the mayor of Limassol stressed that they want to do everything possible to prevent these xenophobic actions in the future, no matter where they come from, as they pose a risk to social cohesion.
At the same time, the Mayor of Limassol went with a group of municipal councillors and the Director of the Historical Archaeological Site of Limassol, to inspect the damage made.
A spokesman for Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), Ömer Çelik condemned the attack on the mosque in Limassol, calling on the Cypriot government to take action against “fascist enemies of Islam”.
In a statement, Çelik said “we condemn the attempt to set fire to the mosque in Limassol. The [Cypriot government] must take action against the fascist enemies of Islam. Rhetoric must be fought against politics and the media, which encourages hatred against Islam.”
It must be noted that in occupied northern Cyprus, there are some churches which have been destroyed and used as farming storage houses or barns for animals.