Slovakia has passed a law banning Islam from gaining official status as a religion, the latest signs of a growing anti-Muslim sentiment across Europe.
Slovakian prime minister Robert Fico’s government has repeatedly said Islam has no place in Slovakia.
The law will make it much harder to register Islam, which has just 2 000 supporters in Slovakia according to the latest census and no recognised mosques.
Parliament adopted the bill sponsored by the Slovak National Party (SNS), which requires a religion to have at least 50 000 members, up from 20 000, to qualify for state subsidies and to run its own schools.
The SNS said the new law was also meant to prevent speculative registrations of churches, such as the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which has amassed followers worldwide.
SNS chairman Andrej Danko said: “We must do everything we can so that no mosque is built in the future.”
The legislation hints at a hardening of attitudes towards the religion as EU countries struggle to address the escalating migrant crisis.
The former half of communist state has fiercely resisted European Union (EU) efforts to foist unpopular migrant policies upon them, rejecting the bloc’s introduction of migrant quotas.
Slovakia joins Hungary, Myanmar, Samoa and Angola who do not formally recognize the Muslim religion.
The government of Angola closed and even demolished several mosques over the past couple of years that it claimed were built without permission.
(Source / 03.12.2016)