Danko bans burqas, although nobody wears them in Slovakia

In the aftermath of the Berlin attack, Slovak politicians react in various ways.

Andrej Danko, SNS chairmanAndrej Danko, SNS chairman (Source: TASR)

According to chairman of the coalition member, the Slovak National Party (SNS), Andrej Danko, the Monday attack on a Christmas market in Berlin is a sign that multiculturalism and an excessively open attitude towards other cultures are reducing security in European countries. All this is happening due to the European Union’s failure in terms of security, Danko told the TASR newswire on December 20. The SNS leader announced that his party will submit a legislative change to the parliament in 2017 that will be aimed at introducing a ban on wearing burqas in public places.

“Not everyone professing Islam is a terrorist,” Danko opined. “People cannot be judged according to their religion or skin colour. But security measures identifying people that incline towards radical expressions of Islam have to be adopted within Europe.”

The reaction of the Muslim community here is unambiguous: Danko is tackling a problem that simply does not exist, as Muslim women in Slovakia do not wear the burqa, the Denník N daily wrote on December 22. Chairman of the Islamic Foundation in Slovakia Mohamed Hasna commented that Danko required a ban on minarets in the past, and these are not in Slovakia either. Currently, some 5,000 Muslims live in Slovakia.

Political scientist and expert on Islam Jozef Lenč does not knows a single woman living in Slovakia who would wear burqa, either, Denník N wrote.

the coalition and opposition politicians approached by TASR generally do not think that the current situation in Slovakia requires a law banning the wearing of burqas in public places. Open support for an initiative sponsored by Danko was expressed only by opposition Sme rodina /We Are Family party leader Boris Kollár. “It’s a bit premature; there is no such problem in our country. We don’t see such people in Slovakia, but I'll vote for it because the higher number of such bills we adopt and so discourage Muslims from coming to our country ... the more we’ll protect our people. We’ll certainly support it," Kollár said.

Coalition Most-Híd party leader Béla Bugár doesn't think that the time has come for such a ban.

Smer MP Miroslav Číž acknowledged Danko’s proposal, but, according to him, activities regarding the matter need more evaluation.

Opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) MP and former defence minister Ľubomír Galko stated that a proposal to ban burqas only points to the professional emptiness of SNS. Also opposition OĽaNO-NOVA leader Igor Matovič said that banning burqas in Slovakia is the kind of petty issue that was seen when it came to the matter of wearing T-shirts with slogans in Parliament or the presence of a colon in the logo of public broadcaster Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS).

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