The 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.