Prime Minister Robert Fico told the TASR agency in an interview published on May 25 that “Islam has no place in Slovakia.” Following is the press response of the Islamic Foundation in Slovakia concerning this statement, as well as previous similar statements of the Prime Minister.
Arab family was attacked last summer directly at Bratislava’s main train station. In March, Muslim woman was being cursed and robbed at Bratislava’s public transportation stop. A few days ago someone even strangled her. Insults and threats to Muslims appear in Slovak internet discussions every day.
The Muslim community in Slovakia is very well integrated, financially self-sufficient and almost without any problems. Friday sermons in Muslim prayer rooms are being delivered in the Slovak language for years, while in the West this is not a standard even today. And so we ask, how did we deserve to become the target of hatred, not only on the Internet and in public spaces, but even by those who are – our of the nature of their office – supposed to protect us.
Right before the election Prime Minister Robert Fico used to promise to “protect Slovakia”. However, we certainly do not feel safer now. So far, he did not strongly stood up for us even once. On the other hand, now he is doing the opposite once again. He insults Muslims and their faith, and demonstrates that the constitutional principle of protection of religion is perhaps not valid, when it comes to Muslims.
Repeated statements of the Prime Minister do not harm only Slovak Muslims, but also the interests of Slovakia as a sovereign state, which has been building its position in the international arena. Starting 1st of July Slovakia takes over the presidency of the European Union, which includes almost 20 million Muslims living now in the EU. The Prime Minister, however, has just sent a message to them saying that their faith has “no place” in our land.
It is only a tragicomic coincidence that his latest statement came on the same day when the government approved the nomination of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Miroslav Lajčák as the UN SecretaryGeneral,which is a leading position of the institution, whose very essence is to fight hatred and violence in the world.
In Bratislava, 25th of May 2016
Islamic Foundation in Slovakia