Czech Muslims complain about police raid
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.
On Friday afternoon, the organized crime unit of the Czech police raided the headquarters of Prague’s Islamic Foundation in the centre of the capital and a mosque on the outskirts of the city. They also conducted several house searchers. A police spokesman said they had acted on allegations that a book that had been published by the Czech Muslim Community was inciting racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism.
Some 20 people were detained during the raid and brought in for questioning. On Saturday, the police charged a 55-year-old Czech man with promoting hate speech. But the head of the Association of Czech Muslim Communities, Muneeb Hassan Alrawi, says the raid was disproportionate.
An Indonesian diplomat in Prague, who was detained for hour and a half after Friday’s operation, said his embassy had filed a complaint to the Czech Foreign Ministry.
The police have not disclosed which book prompted the operation. According to local media reports, it was the Czech edition of Fundamentals of Tawheed by Bilal Philips. In it, the controversial Jamaican-born Muslim cleric justifies some radical views held by the Wahhabi and Salafi movements.
Mr Alrawi denies that Czech Muslims would adhere to the extremist positions allegedly contained in the book, which came out in 2012.
“The Czech edition was prepared by a very small group of people. Unfortunately, it was published by the community, but that does not mean we hold the same views. We now want to review the book and if it does contain problematic passages, we will want to disassociate ourselves from it. So unfortunately, there has been a problem with how these things work inside the community.”