Hate Free Culture project working to combat Czech xenophobia
On Tuesday, around thirty members of various religious denominations – including Muslims, Jews and Christians – sat down for a joint breakfast event in Studio Alta in Prague’s Holešovice district. The event, attended by community representatives, the South African and Kuwaiti ambassadors to the Czech Republic, and many ordinary members of the public, was organized by the Hate Free Culture Project. The breakfast is part of a wider effort by this organisation to foster greater understanding in the Czech Republic amidst heightened tensions over the current migrant crisis. I spoke with project coordinator Lukáš Houdek and began by asking him to describe Hate Free Culture’s work:
Has it taken on new momentum in recent months because of the migrant crisis?
“Certainly, because the project was designed a few years ago to mostly fight hatred targeted against the Roma population. But last year it changed into mostly fear and hate against Muslims, and now in recent months it has changed in the direction of migrants and refugees.”
Your most recent event was a harmony breakfast held in Prague. So are these the kind of events that your organization uses to foster harmony, understanding – what is the overall intention?
You mentioned that you dispel hoaxes. I noticed your website was just dealing with one regarding Czech Muslims supposedly being against the recent Prague Pride festival. You also have another section on the site which discusses the conflict in Teplice regarding Arab visitors supposedly making a mess in parks and lashing out at local dogs. Do you believe that there are major levels of misunderstanding between Czechs and Czech Muslims or Muslim migrants?