For the attention of Members of the Scottish Parliament,
In the early hours of Wednesday 30th August 2017, the police carried out raids at the homes of members of the Kurdish community living in Edinburgh. Families were woken from bed by six plain clothes police officers citing terrorism laws and waving a document that accuses a member of the family of participating in a terrorism activity on 26 March 2017. This so called terrorist activity was in fact a celebration of Newroz (the Kurdish New Year). Later, a forced entry was used to raid the Kurdish community centre in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, despite the police being told that the key holder would be there “in twenty minutes.”
As with similar raids last year, no arrests were made and no evidence of connection with terrorism was discovered. Families were left upset and scared and children prevented from going to school.
The Kurdish community centre is a place where the Kurdish community gather to share their language, culture and traditions. We hold Kurdish language classes, folklore dance classes and English language classes. Our community refer to the centre as our “common home”. It is where we can peacefully and freely embrace our identity and pass our culture onto our children. Having come to Scotland as Kurdish refugees many years ago, we have now integrated into the Scottish society here. Our children are growing up half Kurdish, half Scottish and they are, just like all other youth in Scotland, the future of this country. We have formed many relationships with communities, organisations and charities. We have been welcomed here with positive attitudes and to this day both the Scottish government and the people of Scotland have made us feel at home. We left difficult days of persecution and discrimination back home and came to Scotland with a vision of peace, unity and hope.
However – since the Turkish Consulate has been established in Edinburgh, they have put in every effort and energy to intimidate our community by criminalising both us and our centre. This is the second time we have been labelled, targeted and questioned by the police. We therefore believe the police are under the pressure and influence of the Turkish consulate who are bringing the intimidation tactics of the Turkish Government to Scotland.
This is an open form of racism. It is against our most basic human rights. We are a migrant community and have already suffered many years of injustice. We no longer want to face policies of denial and discrimination. Our community are now very disheartened but also very determined to stand firm against this undeserved treatment.
As our representatives we would like you to show your support to our community and stand by us through this difficult, stressful time.
Kurdish community centre
Due to the concerns amongst the community please contact the Kurdish Community Centre via Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan
Stephen Smellie 07740096864