Racist Turkish groups launched a violent attack on Kurdish families returning home after Newroz celebrations in Leuven, Belgium, causing widespread tension and concern. The attackers beat and stabbed several Kurdish people and attempted to force their way into a house where dozens had sought refuge.

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Racist Turkish groups attacked a convoy of Kurdish families returning to their homes in the Heusden-Zolder district of the Belgian city of Leuven after the Newroz celebrations on Sunday, leaving several in critical condition and the community fearful for their safety.

The assailants chanted ‘takbir’, the jihadist motto often associated with the Islamic State (ISIS), as people took refuge in a house only to be pursued.

After vandalising a number of vehicles, the attackers reportedly tried to force their way into the property where dozens of people had taken shelter. Witnesses said the attackers then tried to set fire to the building, endangering around 40 people inside.

The gravity of the situation led to police intervention, resulting in 24-hour protection for the Kurdish homes.


Initial reports indicated that at least six people had been injured, either by being beaten or stabbed. Although detailed information on the extent of these injuries is not yet available, two of the injured are said to be in a critical condition.

The attackers were reported to have waved the Turkish flag and performed the ‘wolf salute’, a gesture associated with the Turkish far-right paramilitary organisation Grey Wolves.

Eyewitness accounts and video footage have provided a harrowing picture of the violence, including the brutal beating of a Kurdish individual by several attackers and several Kurds lying motionless on the ground surrounded by attackers shouting insults in Turkish. Some of the victims have not yet been identified.

The attackers also desecrated symbols important to the Kurdish community, including burning flags representing the Kurdish national colours, presumably taken from the victims.

In response to the attack, members of the Kurdish community rushed to the scene to ensure the safety of those trapped inside the house and protest against racism. Protesters demanded the immediate arrest and punishment of the attackers, and photos of some of the suspects were circulated on social media.

The Anti-Kurdish Racism Information Centre (IAKR) expressed deep concern over the attack, pointing out that the Grey Wolves, who were implicated in the attack through the use of their symbols and slogans, are notorious for their anti-democratic, anti-Semitic and racist ideology. The movement, which often targets Kurds and other minorities, has a history of violence and is considered one of the largest right-wing extremist movements in Germany.