The Indonesian Embassy in Prague has filed a complaint to the Czech Foreign Ministry over Friday’s police raid at the headquarters of Prague’s Islamic Foundation and a mosque on the outskirts of the city. The raid, made in connection with an allegedly racist publication, took place during Friday prayers disrupting the ceremony attended by around one hundred believers, including women and children. Among them were members of the Indonesian Embassy who were detained for an hour and a half despite their diplomatic status. The police detained 20 people and charged one of inciting racial hatred and xenophobia.
The Czech Republic’s Muslim community has complained after police raided the headquarters of Prague’s Islamic Foundation and a mosque on the outskirts of the city during Friday prayers, detaining some 20 people and filing hate crime charges against one man. Muslim community leaders say the operation was over the top – and deny inciting ethnic or religious hatred.
A number of Czech towns and cities marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday with traditional outdoor ceremonies at which the names of Holocaust victims are read out by politicians, church dignitaries and leading cultural figures. In the Czech capital the ceremony took place at Prague’s Náměstí Míru square attended among others by the minister for human rights and minorities, Jiří Dienstbier, the Israeli ambassador to Prague Garz Koren and others. The event, held for the 9th year now, is jointly organized by the Foundation for Holocaust Victims and the Terezín Initiative Institute. Of Czechoslovakia’s pre-war Jewish population of 350,000, 250,000 died during the Holocaust.
The police’s organized crime squad raided several Prague sites on Friday, including the headquarters of the Islamic Foundation, a cultural centre near Wenceslas Square, on suspicion of the illegal publishing and distribution of a book inciting racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, a spokesman for the organized crime squad said on Friday. One of the raids took place in the Islamic Foundation’s house of prayer, disrupting the religious gathering. One of the people present, the first secretary of the Indonesian Embassy, told the ctk news agency the police stormed the premises telling people to lie down face of the floor as they searched the grounds. Five people were arrested. The police did not specify what publication they were looking for.
Michal Klepetek, a ballet dancer of the Moravian Theatre in Olomouc, has won the Czech Mr Gay pagent. The 28-year-old dancer defeated another six finalists in the competition’s final held in a Prague theatre on Friday night. The contestants competed in several rounds including a swimsuit catwalk, question responses, and a free discipline. The organizers raised 35,000 crowns that was donated to a cancer-research endowment fund.
The leader of the Dawn party, Tomio Okamura, said one of his party’s candidates in the European elections, Klára Samková, had “not a drop of Gypsy blood” in her veins. Ms Samková has worked as attorney for a number of Romany clients and was married to a Romany man. Mr Okamura made the comment on Facebook when asked why the party, known for its anti-Romany rhetoric, had fielded Ms Samková for the election. The comments came under criticism from Romany advocates; for her part, Klára Samková came out in defence of Mr Okamura, saying he meant no offence.
Representatives of the country’s Olah Romanies elected a new king in the town of Hradec Králové on Saturday. Their new monarch is to be fifty-two-year- old entrepreneur Robert Beneš from Brno. Although Benes was elected by Olah representatives from dozens of towns and cities, he may not be accepted by all Olah Romanies. For instance the Olah clan from Ostrava was notably absent from the vote. Elections of previous Olah kings have been known to stir controversy. In 2001 Jan Lipa was elected king of the Olahs, but a congregation of Olah Romanies in Brno refused to accept him and elected Jan Horvátko instead. Lipa died in 2012, Horvátko a year later.
Overcoming the language barrier is one of the main hurdles Romany children face on starting school and is one of the oft-cited reasons for putting them in “special schools” for children with learning disabilities. Deputies in the lower house are now engaged in a debate on whether to introduce a special dual-language curriculum for Romany children.
Finance Minister and ANO party leader Andrej Babiš on Thursday apologized for his attack on the news website echo24.cz. Earlier this week, Mr Babiš said the website’s investor was a front, and indirectly threatened to audit his tax returns. His comments came after ANO’s Justice Minister Helená Válková suggested in an interview for the website that conditions in Bohemia and Moravia under Nazi rule were not that harsh. Mr Babiš said the interview was not fair. The outlet, which has also expressed critical views of the finance minister and his party, was founded by journalists who left the daily Lidové noviny after it was acquired by Mr Babiš last year. In a statement for another of his papers, Mladá fronta Dnes, Andrej Babiš apologized for his remarks and said it was not his intention to check the media outlet’s finances or to silence anyone.
The Czech government’s Agency for Social Inclusion will launch a nationwide anti-racism campaign, its coordinator Jaroslav Valůch said on Wednesday. The campaign will start in the autumn, and will focus on people between 15 and 25 years of age. The agency is planning to use testimonies of victims of racially motivated violence to refute myths and disinformation about the country’s minorities. It will also work with schools, mainly in the depressed north Bohemia and Moravia-Silesia regions, Mr Valůch said. The project, covered mostly by EU funds, will last two years.
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