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Czech Interior Ministry not allowing party to add "Bloc against Islam" to its name

22.3.2016 19:58
Czech President Miloš Zeman (second from right) with leaders of the Bloc against Islam singing the national anthem on 17 November 2015. (PHOTO:   ČT24)
Czech President Miloš Zeman (second from right) with leaders of the Bloc against Islam singing the national anthem on 17 November 2015. (PHOTO: ČT24)

The Czech Interior Ministry has denied permission to the Úsvit-Národní koalice (Dawn-National Coalition) political party to change its name to "Úsvit s Blokem proti islámu" (Dawn with the Bloc against Islam). Party chair Miroslav Lidinský informed journalists of the decision today.

The ministry decided that the new name, taken together with the party's program theses, might give rise to the conviction that the party's aim is to deny equal rights and freedoms to citizens who are Muslims. Úsvit said it would be appealing the decision in the courts.

Lidinský is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He became the chair of what is currently the Czech Parliament's smallest party on 8 August 2015.

Most of the party's delegates voted for him at the party's election conference in Prague. Úsvit was previously run by Tomio Okamura but has completely changed its leadership staff of 15 people, changed its name, which it has now attempted to register, and changed its logo.

The attempted name change was approved by the leadership of the party and the leadership of the "Bloc against Islam" group at a joint ideological conference at the end of February in Prague. That conference was meant to show that the party and the Bloc have become even more intertwined and to introduce its program for the elections this year to the Regional Authorities and the Senate.

Speaking at a press conference in the lower house today, Lidinský said the ministry had been bothered by the formulation in the party's program that "Úsvit agrees to face down these bankrupt, pan-European trends and the irresponsible influx of inadaptable migrants who are subverting Europe." He also quoted the ministry's finding that, in combination with the proposed name change, the program might give rise to the conviction that the party's aim is to deny equal rights and freedoms to citizens who are Muslims.

Martin Konvička, chair of the Bloc against Islam, said his organization would join the lawsuit appealing the decision to deny registration of the new name. The party issued a press release stating that a separate lawsuit will be brought claiming that the decision damages the party's reputation.

brf, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Extremism, Islamofobie, Nenávist, Populism, Xenophobia



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