The Muslim Association of Greece (MAG) has released a statement saying they are not responsible for the violent protests that took place in central Athens on Sunday. The claim that Pakistanis staged the protests.
Digital Journal reported that Muslims rioted in Athens on Sunday in protest over the film "Innocence of Muslims." Riot police had to use teargas against the protesters who engaged in violent acts, smashing shop windows, vandalizing cars, and hurling stones and bottles at police.
According to Alyunaniya the Muslim Association of Greece denounced the violence, blaming the riot on outraged Pakistanis. MAG released a statement saying:
“Today there was a demonstration staged by Pakistani groups, and we the Muslim Association of Greece along with the entire Arab Community of Athens did not participate. The only way of reaction that we consider as appropriate for our country is a civilized discussion, and for that reason we called for a press conference on Friday where eminent figures participated in order to discuss in depth the true reasons of the release of such a film.”
The statement went on to say: "With great sorrow we saw the violent incidents and damages that do not honor anyone and we condemn them with great intensity. Violence does not lead anywhere. We also want to stress the fact that Greek Media did not refer to who staged this demonstration, they just referred vaguely that to Muslims in Athens and this vague grouping creates wrong impressions for us.”
Greek media reported Muslims protested in Athens, a statement of fact as the Pakistanis MAG blames were Islamists. To Vima reported that Arabic speaking Muslims were responsible for Sundays's riot in Athen's Korydallos Prison.
Prior to the protests Naim El-Ghandour, MAGs president, said that no protests were planned by MAG, stating “even though in a democracy we have every right to protest, we wanted to state our position in a civilized way, we don’t want to create tensions in a country that is also ours suffering from an economic crisis. We respect the hard times Greece is going through.”
El-Ghandour took the opportunity to brand Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras a racist as he misrepresented government policy in dealing with illegal immigrants as being directed against Muslims.