Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has written to church leaders in Britain asking them to counter “intolerance and xenophobia” exposed in attacks on Poles living there, Catholic Herald reports.
The Polish leader explained that his letters to the heads of the Church of England and of the Catholic Church in Britain were in line with his government’s efforts to obtain security and better protection for the hundreds of thousands of Poles living in Britain.
Following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June, there has been an increase in reports of hostile acts against Poles. The Polish embassy revealed that they have been contacted about 15 separate incidents of xenophobia including arson, physical assault, hateful graffiti and intimidation.
Last week, a 40-year-old Pole died and another was left injured after they were beaten by teenagers in Harlow, about 30 miles north of London. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
In his letters to the archbishop of Canterbury and to the archbishop of Westminster, Duda said such attacks could potentially create a divide between Poles and British people.
He asked for a “constructive effort” from church communities and local parishes to “alleviate the adverse consequences of intolerance and xenophobia, including what appears to be a clear instance of aversion and animosity toward Poles”.
The foreign and interior ministers of Poland met with their counterparts in London on September 5 to seek better security for the Poles.
Cruxnowcom. (2016). Crux. https://cruxnow.com/global-church/2016/09/10/poland-demands-end-xenophobia-among-brits/
Theguardiancom. (2016). The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/sep/06/polish-communities-in-uk-to-get-more-protection
Catholicheraldcouk. (2016). Catholicheraldcouk. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/09/07/president-of-poland-asks-church-leaders-to-protect-poles-living-in-the-uk/