Muslims were more accepted in Slovakia shortly after the fall of socialism

We are not being targeted right now, but Islamophobia is still a problem in Slovakia, says Islamic Foundation director.

Mohamad Safwan Hasna Mohamad Safwan Hasna (Source: Courtesy of M.S. Hasna)

When Mohamad Safwan Hasna moved from his native Syria to then Czechoslovakia as part of a student exchange programme in late 1991, he didn’t know much about the country or its people.

Related article:How a shared fear of spiders could combat a fear of Muslims in Slovakia Read more 

“To be honest, I originally thought that Bratislava was a part of Prague, because the Czech Republic was more well-known in Syria at the time,” Hasna said.

In the years that followed, Hasna, a practicing Muslim, connected with other members of the Muslim community and helped established the General Union of Muslim Students in 1993. The union regularly held Days of Islamic Culture, which included multi-day lectures on Islam, workshops and food tastings in Istropolis, a now neglected culture and congress centre in Bratislava.

“They're very pleasant memories; there wasn't that much hatred for us [Muslims] back then,” said Hasna. “Slovaks had a sincere interest in getting to know other cultures, due, in part, to their years of isolation during socialism.”

A faith without a home

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Theme: Foreigners in Slovakia

Read more articles by the topic

Top stories

Cabinet discussed at its April 14 session the Sputnik V vaccines, among other things.

News digest: Ministry should soon specify whether it will publish Sputnik V contract

Slovakia should receive thousands of additional Pfizer vaccines. A Slovak made it to the shortlist of the dearMoon project.

1 h
Illustrative stock photo

Health Ministry makes vaccination against Covid-19 accessible to some groups of foreigners

Third-country nationals without public health insurance left out of system.

7 h
"The online world is a fiction and I fear this fiction is now being served to children as the real world,” says psychiatrist Michal Patarák about children in pandemic spending most of their time at the computers.

We are serving fiction to children as if it was the real world

Top psychiatrist Michal Patarák talks about how the pandemic toll tests mental health.

12 h