Czech Republic’s tiny Muslim community subject to hate


Czech Republic’s tiny Muslim community subject to hate


Though no exact figures exist, the Muslim community in the Czech Republic is small, between 5,000 and 20,000, or less than 0.02 percent of the total population. Just a portion lives in Prague.

Yet Islam has become a hot-button topic in Czech national politics, where the power to resolve the country’s hung parliament could lie with a politician whose only policy is, “No to Islam. No to terrorism”.

Czech-Japanese entrepreneur Tomio Okamura and his Freedom and Direct Democracy Party (SPD) rode into parliament as the third most powerful party after the recent October nationwide elections, with no discernible policy other than to drive Islam completely out of the Czech Republic. The campaign slogan was convincing enough for the newly formed SPD to scoop significant votes in its first ever electoral race.

Having built ties to other far-right movements in Europe, such as Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, Okamura hopes to achieve his goal through ongoing coalition talks with controversial billionaire Andrej Babis, who is slated to become the country’s next prime minister.

Some Muslims in Prague fear that the circumstances may lead to an alliance with Okamura, giving him an unprecedented platform – a worrying prospect given ANO and SPD’s common disdain for Muslim refugees…

This type of increasingly hostile rhetoric against migrants has profoundly stoked Islamophobia. For the members of Prague’s small Muslim community, it is a sign of worrying times ahead. With negotiations between the two parties ongoing, Okamura has already told local media that ANO has pledged to consider a restriction on asylum for Muslims and a ban on “Sharia”, or Islamic law, and that SPD will not support Babis unless an agreement is reached…

Even if the two parties did align, they would have a hard time carrying out such a ban, the chief of the Constitutional Court, Pavel Rychetsky, told local media saying: “Nobody can forbid freedom of religion and belief.”

Source: Aljazeera

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