Slovakia approves restrictive church law targeting Muslims

AP News
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Posted: Jan 31, 2017 12:40 PM

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia's parliament has overridden a veto by President Andrej Kiska and approved legislation that will tighten conditions for the official registration of churches.

Starting in March, the law will increase the number of members needed for a religion to become official — and eligible for state subsidies — from 20,000 to 50,000.

The bill was drafted by the ultra-nationalist Slovak National Party, which is a member of the governing coalition. It has made no secret of its intent to target Muslims.

There are about 5,000 Muslims in Slovakia, and the community had already considered the original number restrictive.

Its leader, Mohamad Safwan Hasna, called Tuesday an "unfortunate day for religious freedom in Slovakia."

The move is another sign of anti-Islamic sentiment in Catholic-dominated Slovakia.

Kiska said the law interferes too much with fundamental rights and freedoms.