Expressions of anti-Semitism on the Czech Internet doubled in 2013 compared with the previous year according to the annual report by the Czech Jewish community released on Monday. Instances of anti-Semitism on the Internet totaled 156 last year compared with 82 in 2012. The number of instances has increased fivefold since 2008. The number of anti-Semitic attacks on individuals or property was stable with the Czech Republic still a country where anti-Jewish expressions are uncommon at a public and political level, the report added.
Mayors from 18 local councils in the north of the Czech Republic bordering Germany have sent a letter to the prime minister drawing his attention to the tinder box situation in the area, the daily Lidové Noviny reported on Monday. The deprived Šluknov area was the scene of demonstrations by extreme right wing groups and ethnic tensions with the local Roma community three years ago. Since then, mayors say little has changed in terms of creating jobs or opportunities or increasing local police numbers and council budgets. The mayors warn Bohuslav Sobotka that without action the tensions could boil over again this summer.
The Indonesian Embassy in Prague has filed a complaint to the Czech Foreign Ministry over Friday’s police raid at the headquarters of Prague’s Islamic Foundation and a mosque on the outskirts of the city. The raid, made in connection with an allegedly racist publication, took place during Friday prayers disrupting the ceremony attended by around one hundred believers, including women and children. Among them were members of the Indonesian Embassy who were detained for an hour and a half despite their diplomatic status. The police detained 20 people and charged one of inciting racial hatred and xenophobia.
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.
A number of Czech towns and cities marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday with traditional outdoor ceremonies at which the names of Holocaust victims are read out by politicians, church dignitaries and leading cultural figures. In the Czech capital the ceremony took place at Prague’s Náměstí Míru square attended among others by the minister for human rights and minorities, Jiří Dienstbier, the Israeli ambassador to Prague Garz Koren and others. The event, held for the 9th year now, is jointly organized by the Foundation for Holocaust Victims and the Terezín Initiative Institute. Of Czechoslovakia’s pre-war Jewish population of 350,000, 250,000 died during the Holocaust.
The police’s organized crime squad raided several Prague sites on Friday, including the headquarters of the Islamic Foundation, a cultural centre near Wenceslas Square, on suspicion of the illegal publishing and distribution of a book inciting racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, a spokesman for the organized crime squad said on Friday. One of the raids took place in the Islamic Foundation’s house of prayer, disrupting the religious gathering. One of the people present, the first secretary of the Indonesian Embassy, told the ctk news agency the police stormed the premises telling people to lie down face of the floor as they searched the grounds. Five people were arrested. The police did not specify what publication they were looking for.
Michal Klepetek, a ballet dancer of the Moravian Theatre in Olomouc, has won the Czech Mr Gay pagent. The 28-year-old dancer defeated another six finalists in the competition’s final held in a Prague theatre on Friday night. The contestants competed in several rounds including a swimsuit catwalk, question responses, and a free discipline. The organizers raised 35,000 crowns that was donated to a cancer-research endowment fund.
The leader of the Dawn party, Tomio Okamura, said one of his party’s candidates in the European elections, Klára Samková, had “not a drop of Gypsy blood” in her veins. Ms Samková has worked as attorney for a number of Romany clients and was married to a Romany man. Mr Okamura made the comment on Facebook when asked why the party, known for its anti-Romany rhetoric, had fielded Ms Samková for the election. The comments came under criticism from Romany advocates; for her part, Klára Samková came out in defence of Mr Okamura, saying he meant no offence.
Representatives of the country’s Olah Romanies elected a new king in the town of Hradec Králové on Saturday. Their new monarch is to be fifty-two-year- old entrepreneur Robert Beneš from Brno. Although Benes was elected by Olah representatives from dozens of towns and cities, he may not be accepted by all Olah Romanies. For instance the Olah clan from Ostrava was notably absent from the vote. Elections of previous Olah kings have been known to stir controversy. In 2001 Jan Lipa was elected king of the Olahs, but a congregation of Olah Romanies in Brno refused to accept him and elected Jan Horvátko instead. Lipa died in 2012, Horvátko a year later.
Overcoming the language barrier is one of the main hurdles Romany children face on starting school and is one of the oft-cited reasons for putting them in “special schools” for children with learning disabilities. Deputies in the lower house are now engaged in a debate on whether to introduce a special dual-language curriculum for Romany children.
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