MP urges Czechs: Walk your pigs near mosques

Tomio OkamuraTomio Okamura, who heads the Czech opposition Dawn of Direct Democracy movement, has called on people on Facebook to bother Muslims in the Czech Republic by “walking pigs” in the vicinity of mosques, for example, which, he emphasised, is no incitement to intolerance.

The Dawn discussed the text of the appeal with lawyers before releasing it, he told the server.

In the past, Okamura repeatedly asserted that he is not a xenophobe, in spite of his controversial statements about Romanies and foreigners in the Czech Republic. For example, Okamura once visited a man convicted of a racially motivated murder in prison.

The text that Okamura released on Facebook is the Dawn’s “instruction for the protection against Islam.” It is signed by Dawn member Jiří Kobza.

The Dawn advises people to keep dogs and pigs and to go to walk them in the vicinity of mosques and other sites visited by Muslims. People should also lead [seedy-looking] homeless people to such places, Dawn recommends. It says people should not buy kebabs, a meal often offered by Muslim vendors.

The article is also aimed against immigrants in general. It calls on people not to vote in support of politicians who promise advantages to immigrants.

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Islamophobia on the rise in Czech Republic

IVCR Czech Controlled ZoneThe Czech Republic experienced a spike in Islamophobia in 2014 despite there being a very small number of Muslims in the country, Petr Zídek writes in the daily Lidové noviny (LN) today.

Although President Milos Zeman’s popularity plummeted in the past year, he is still highly respected by Islamophobes, Zídek writes.

In mid-December, the Islamophobes wrote a letter to Zeman in which they praised his open “objections to the Islamic theocratic and totalitarian ideology.” They highly appreciated Zeman for opposing “the efforts by influential groups in Czech and European society to pursue a policy of appeasement towards this old-new totalitarian threat.”

Leaders of the anti-Islam initiative, which has more than 93,000 supporters on Facebook, have asked Zeman to veto a planned bill that is to extend the powers of the ombudsman. They criticize the current ombudsman, Anna Šabatová, for having defended two female Muslim students whom a Czech secondary school did not permit to wear head scarves earlier this year, Zídek writes.

The Czech Islamophobes fail to understand that the core of the dispute was not Islam and its habits but the question of whether school rules may be at variance with the constitution, Zídek writes.

The Islamphobes say if the ombudsman’s powers were extended, Šabatová would use her new powers to “persecute the critics of Islam and thereby strengthen the presence of Islam in the Czech Republic,” Zídek quoting them as saying.

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Far-right leaders vow to ‘save Europe’ at French gathering

Marine le Pen and Geert Wilders at Lyon conferenceRepresentatives of Eurosceptic and far-right groups from Italy to Bulgaria gathered at the National Front party conference in Lyon at the weekend to warn France and Europe of a “neo-Ottoman” onslaught of Islam-preaching, benefit-stealing migrants.

Digging through the history books, Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), warned that “Arab armies plundered Lyon in 725 and are now busy doing the same in Iraq and Syria”.

Strache went on to blast Europe’s mainstream parties for, among other things, stoking “mass immigration, ideological terror, gay marriage and gender theory”.

The Austrian far-right leader was one of seven foreign politicians invited by the National Front (FN) leader, Marine Le Pen, to showcase her so-called “Europe of nations” – which she hopes to build on the ruins of an increasingly unpopular EU.

“Our Europe stretches from the Atlantic to the Urals, not from Washington to Brussels,” she said, calling for closer ties with Vladimir Putin’s Russia and an end to “US domination”.

The weekend gathering capped a triumphant year for her party, which romped to victory in European elections with a whopping 25% of the vote.

Should France hold a presidential election next week, polls say Marine Le Pen would thrash her challengers in the first round of voting – but would likely come up short in a runoff vote.

Either way, analysts say there is a very real chance the FN, as it is known in France, may one day wield power in France.

Like the French far right, Le Pen’s foreign guests have thrived on the gloom and anxiety sweeping across Europe in the wake of the financial crisis.

Addressing the FN conference, they treated the audience to a mix of fear-mongering and unbridled optimism, claiming their impending victory would save Europe from the present apocalypse.

First to speak was Geert Wilders, the platinum blond leader of Dutch Islamophobic party PVV, who hailed Marine Le Pen as “France’s next president”.

“Just like you, we don’t want foreigners to tell us they are masters in our country. We say: kick the criminals, the jihadists, the illegal migrants out,” he told the entirely Caucasian audience to rapturous applause.

Wilders, who left without listening to his colleague’s speeches, blasted the “betrayal of our multicultural elites, who destroy our identities and traditions”.

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Czech Interior Ministry rules that spa town must respect Muslim dress codes

TepliceThe Czech Interior Ministry has decided that the north Bohemian town of Teplice cannot issue a decree banning people from covering their faces in connection with the Arab clients of the local spa, daily Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD) writes in its regional supplement today.

The Teplice town hall was considering introducing such a ban in order to make some Arab tourists more respect “European rules” and keep public space tidy.

“A decree cannot regulate the covering of faces,” the ministry writes in a letter to Teplice Mayor Jaroslav Kubera.

The ministry says such a public notice would affect Muslim women who cover their faces in accordance with their religious belief and this would go against the Czech Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, the paper writes.

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Ombudswoman’s defence of hijab sparks heated debate in the Czech Republic

Anna ŠabatováTwo young women from Somalia and Afghanistan who were studying at a Prague nursing school left the institution last year after the headmistress refused to allow them to wear headscarves in class.

While the headmistress claimed that the dispute was not about religious freedoms but about adhering to the rules of a given institution, Ombudswoman Anna Šabatová has now defended their right to do so:

“It was indirect discrimination. The girls were, in effect, denied access to education. A school principal cannot use an internal regulation to decide if someone can cover their head with a scarf, which in this case happened to be a religious symbol.”

The Ombudswoman’s stand immediately sparked heated debate about whether students should be allowed to wear headscarves and other religious symbols. Radko Hokovský from the Prague-based European Values think tank argues that the Ombudswoman’s verdict does not reflect the broader situation in Europe:

“The veil is not only a religious symbol. According to a verdict by the German Constitutional Court and other international institutions in Europe, including the European Court of Human Rights, it is also perceived as a form of exclusion within schools and also as discrimination against women.”

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Czech president refuses to apologise for anti-Islam comments

Milos Zeman with NetanyahuCzech president Miloš Zeman will not apologize for his recent statement linking the Islamic ideology with violence, his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told the Czech News Agency today, reacting to critics’ demand that Zeman apologize.

The apology is claimed by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), indignant at the statements Zeman made at the May 27 celebration of the Israeli Independence Day in Prague. Zeman, commenting on a previous attack in the Jewish Museum in Brussels, said the Islamic ideology is behind similarly motivated violent attacks.

“The president definitely does not intend to apologize, because he would consider the quotation of the holy Islamic text a blasphemy,” Ovčáček said.

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Islam is to blame for attack on Jewish Museum in Brussels, Czech president claims

Milos Zeman (2)Islamic ideology rather than individual groups of religious fundamentalists is behind violent actions similar to the gun attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels that killed four people, Czech President Miloš Zeman said Monday at the Israeli Embassy in Prague.

Two Israeli tourists and a member of the museum staff were killed by an unknown shooter Saturday, and another staff member died of his injuries Sunday.

“I will not be calmed down by statements that it is only small marginal groups. I believe, on the contrary, that this xenophobia and this racism or anti-Semitism stem from the very nature of the ideology on which these fanatical groups rely,” Zeman said.

He said one of the sacred texts of Islam calls for the killing of Jews.

Zeman said he would also sharply criticize fanatics who planned to kill the Arabs. “However, I have heard of no movement calling for the massive murder of Arabs, but I know about an anti-civilization movement that calls for the massive murdering of Jews,” he said.

Zeman is known for his criticism of international terrorism and its links to Islam. He repeatedly called for resolute opposition to violent terrorist actions during his official visits abroad.

Zeman said he attended the reception held on Israel’s Independence Day out of “solidarity with a friend.”

Czech News Agency, 27 May 2014

Prague: Hundreds of Muslims protest police mosque raid

Prague protest May 2014With prayer mats spread on the ground behind the Ministry of the Interior, hundreds of kneeling Muslims gathered today to protest last Friday’s police mosque raid.

About 300 men and several dozen women prayed, listened to speeches and made religious chants in a show of defiance against what a community leader described as an “entirely inappropriate” raid by officials.

There was a small anti-Muslim counter-protest in the area behind the Prague 7 ministry where the prayer gathering – Friday is the most important day of worship for Muslims – was held.

The action by the Czech Republic’s Muslim community comes after a raid by police on Friday last week of a mosque and of the headquarters of the Islamic Foundation. Officers detained a 55-year-old Czech citizen accused of organizing the translation of a book that, according to police, spreads racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Dozens of people were held at the mosque when the raid took place during Friday prayers.

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Muslim leaders denounce police over raids in Czech capital

Muslim leaders in the Czech Republic on Monday accused the police of abusing their power after armed officers raided Islamic institutions in Prague over the weekend, detaining 20 people during Friday Prayer at a mosque and a community center, and arresting the publisher of a book that law enforcement officials say incites xenophobia and violence.

A spokesman for the Czech police, Pavel Hantak, declined to identify the publisher or the book. He told the Czech news media that he did not want to help promote a book that disseminated racism, anti-Semitism and violence against what it called “inferior races.”

The police said the publisher was a 55-year-old Czech citizen who had the book translated into Czech. He has been charged with promoting hate speech, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Muneeb Hassan Alrawi, the head of the Association of Czech Muslim Religious Communities, said in an interview on Monday that law enforcement officials had indicated that the book behind the raids was “The Fundamentals of Tawheed” by Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, a Jamaican-born imam, who has been banned from entering Australia and Britain and expelled from Germany because of what his critics call extremist views.

Mr. Alrawi said that several copies of the book had been confiscated by the police during a raid Friday at the headquarters of the Islamic Foundation, a community center in Prague, the Czech capital.

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Young Muslim women leave Prague nursing school over hijab ban

Two Muslim girls left a nursing secondary school in Prague as they were not permitted to wear their hijabs, being the first to have ended their studies for this reason in the Czech Republic, Czech Television (CT) said Friday. CT said the case would probably end up with the ombudsman’s office and lawyers were considering filing an anti-discrimination lawsuit.

The principal of the Prague school Ivanka Kohoutova said the school had made no mistake. She said since the law did not define the wearing of hijab, schools could create their own rules. However, human rights organisations are of the view that this is discrimination and intervention in personality rights, CT said.

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