Czech Human Rights Minister: President Zeman is helping the fascisization of Czech society
Czech Minister for Human Rights and Legislation Jiří Dienstbier (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) is convinced that Czech President Zeman is aiding in the creation of an atmosphere for the fascisization of Czech society. In an interview for the Czech News Agency on 18 November, he said that some remarks made by the head of state are Islamophobic, xenophobic, and are creating fear in society.
Tuesday's appearance at Albertov in Prague by Zeman is said to have crossed all lines as an expression of support for what Dienstbier called "hate groups in society". The President's spokesperson, Jiří Ovčáček, responded by saying that Dienstbier was once again managing to disdain citizens' justified concerns and opinions.
"I never imagined a head of this state would support an extremist position and divide society in this way, angering people and primarily frightening them," Dienstbier said about Tuesday's event, at which Zeman appeared side-by-side with members of the Bloc against Islam, a group espousing a very negative position on Islam and on the reception of refugees from Muslim countries.
"I cannot imagine that in any civilized country a head of state would appear in this way, supporting such hate groups in society, and that society would let it pass, that this would be tolerable," Dienstbier said. Martin Konvička, the head of the Bloc against Islam, has previously posted remarks to his Facebook page, for example, about grinding Muslims into a "flour of bone and muscle".
Not just those remarks, but other words spoken by the President are considered by Dienstbier to be Islamophobic and xenophobic. "This is primarily absolutely unacceptable generalizing. This is not about assessing individuals according to how they behave or live," the minister said, adding that there are tens of thousands of Muslims living in the Czech Republic with whom there are no problems whatsoever.
Zeman recently spoke, for example, of the risk that Islamic sharia law might be introduced in the Czech Republic, or alleged that most refugees do not deserve compassion. His remarks in October were criticized by, among others, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who called them xenophobic.
According to Dienstbier, the President is aiding in the building up of fear instead of acting as a moderator, attempting to calm the situation, and finding a solution to it together with others. Zeman, in his view, is aiding at the very least in creating an atmosphere for the fascisization of society.
"Naturally, because he is sparking fear in society through his comments on the situation, he is of course contributing to it, creating the atmosphere, and I'd even say that he is leading this process through his remarks," Dienstbier said.
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