Polish Muslims rally against racism and terrorism

Poznan (Poland) (AFP) - Hundreds of people protested in the Polish city of Poznan on Sunday against terrorism and racism, in one of the first such demonstrations called by Muslim leaders in the overwhelmingly Catholic country.

Around 300 demonstrators gathered in the centre of the western city carrying banners reading "Muslims against terrorism" and "Stop racism".

Poland, where 90 percent of the 38 million population is Catholic, is estimated to have around 15,000 to 25,000 Muslims.

"We condemn all forms of terrorism and we express our solidarity with the French people and all victims of terrorist attacks around the world," said Youssef Chadid, the imam of Poznan who organised the rally.

He said some Polish people were "very racist" and thought all Muslims were terrorists.

"So we are protesting today against terrorism and racism," he said.

Poland's new conservative government has taken a tough stance on Europe's migrant crisis, refusing to take in refugees under the EU's redistribution programme.

Incoming foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski said earlier this month that Europe needed to "approach in a different fashion the Muslim community living in Europe which hates this continent and wishes to destroy it."