Mus­lim outcry over Hun­gar­ian town’s anti-Is­lam de­cree


BU­DAPEST: One of Hun­gary’s main Mus­lim or­ga­ni­za­tions de­cried Mon­day what it said were “xeno­pho­bic” steps taken by an ul­tra-na­tion­al­ist town mayor to pre­serve tra­di­tional Chris­tian val­ues and pre­vent im­mi­gra­tion.

Asothalom, close to the Ser­bian bor­der, last week banned mosque con­struc­tion, the use of a muezzin at prayer times and the wear­ing of clothes such as the niqab and the burkini.

The Hun­gar­ian Is­lamic Com­mu­nity (MIK) said in a state­ment it was “shocked by the in­creas­ing xeno­pho­bia and se­ri­ous Is­lam­o­pho­bia in Hun­gary which has now peaked with the de­cree.”

The steps were taken to “pro­tect the com­mu­nity and its tra­di­tions from any mass set­tle­ment from out­side,” said Mayor Las­zlo Toroczkai, who is also a vice pres­i­dent of the rad­i­cal-right Job­bik party.

Toroczkai gained promi­nence in 2015 when he filmed an ac­tion movie-style video at a fence on the Ser­bian bor­der warn­ing mi­grants not to en­ter Hun­gary. Asothalom has few refugees.

MIK, set up in 1990, is the old­est group rep­re­sent­ing Hun­gary’s Mus­lim com­mu­nity, and is es­ti­mated to have 40,000 mem­bers.

“We have re­quested in writ­ing that the Con­sti­tu­tional Court ex­am­ine this de­cree,” its state­ment said.

“Although we are a re­li­gious mi­nor­ity, our con­sti­tu­tional rights must be pro­tected as we are Hun­gar­ian cit­i­zens just the same as the non-Mus­lim ma­jor­ity.

“We can­not ‘ go home’ any­where as this is our home­land.”

A let­ter sent to Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Or­ban — an anti-im­mi­gra­tion cam­paigner who has emerged as the stan­dard-bearer of those op­posed to Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s “open-door” pol­icy — ask­ing for help had gone unan- swered, MIK said.

The group added that Muslims were sub­ject to in­creas­ing ver­bal and phys­i­cal at­tacks in the run- up to a govern­ment- led ref­er­en­dum last month which re­jected the EU’s trou­bled mi­grant quota plan.

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