Apparent Islamic State (IS/ISIS) sympathizers assaulted a group of Yezidis in the German city of Herford this week, police said, a repercussion of the war in Iraq a continent away.
The assault led to a larger clash, forcing police to send in reinforcements and use pepper spray to calm the situation.
Police said the assault on the German Yezidis was perpetrated by six men from Chechnya, who are apparent IS supporters.
The incident reportedly happened after the Yezidi owner of a pizzeria hung a poster in his restaurant window to support a demonstration against IS attacks in Iraq.
According to police, six Chechens provoked by the poster tried to forcibly remove it, beginning a scuffle with the owner and four other Yezidis. The 31-old owner and a 16-year old student were slightly injured by knife wounds.
Six people – five ethnic Chechens and a German convert to Islam — were arrested after the fight, all known to the police. According to German media, two of the arrested persons are “leading Salafist operatives” who were being monitored by German intelligence.
The singer Hadi Shingali, related to the owner of the pizzeria, confirmed the German media version of the incident. Around 100,000 Yezidis live in Germany, of whom many fled abroad because of persecution in their homeland.
“Now we also feel unsafe in Europe if such fanatics also attack us here,” Shingali said, stressing that the war in Iraq is not just between Yezidis and the militants.
“On the contrary, the ISIS is against all Kurds and all Muslims who do not think like them. At our demonstrations against ISIS many of the participants are Muslim Kurds.”
The owner of the pizzeria would not speak to the media, but Firyal Khalaf, a relative, told Rudaw: “Now we have found out that ISIS sympathizers live so close to us. It’s scary.”
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