CAIRO – Political analysts and Muslim leaders have criticized Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico’s anti-Islam comments, accusing him of forgetting the country’s history.
“Slovakia was a multi-ethnic country historically, and the prime minister denies the long-term ethnic diversity with his statements,” Political analyst Aneta Világi told The Slovak Spectator on Thursday, May 25, adding that this means closing up the national state framework.
“Several thousand Muslims have been living in Slovakia for a long time, and they are fully integrated. They are involved in the operation of the society. They have enriched Slovak culture rather than threatening it,” she added.
Fico’s controversial comments were made in his first post-election interview for the TASR newswire.
In the interview, Fico used even harsher statements than before the election when he rejected the obligatory quotas proposed by the European Union, as well as ”a coherent Muslim community”.
“It may look strange but sorry… Islam has no place in Slovakia,” he said on May 25.
He added that if anyone claims that Slovakia wants to be multi-cultural, they go against the very essence of the country.
He fears that the arrival of thousands of Muslims “who will push through their case” would threaten the Cyrilo-Methodian traditions, on which Slovakia has been built.
“I talked about it several times with the Maltese prime minister and he said the problem was not in migrants coming in, but rather in them changing the face of the country,” Fico said.
“If someone does not acknowledge this as a good example in connection with the migration crisis, if for someone the events in Germany with support of local political subjects are not enough – maybe if we had not taken the stance on the migration crisis which we took, everything would be different and the percentages would be divided in a completely different way,” he summed up for TASR.
The comments were unexpected for Világi who said she expected him to smoothen his previous anti-migration rhetoric, also due to Slovakia’s upcoming presidency of the EU.
“But he adds fuel to the flames,” she summed up.
The comments were criticized by Islamic groups in Slovakia, saying they contradict with the country’s interests.
“The repeated statements of Mr. Premier do not only harm Slovak Muslims but also the country’s interests as a sovereign country which is building its position on the international scene,” the Islamic Foundation in Slovakia reacted.
They added that the Muslim community in Slovakia is well integrated, financially self- supporting and virtually trouble-free.
“Thus, we ask with what have we deserved to become the target of hatred not just on the internet and in public space, but also from those who should protect us based on their essential role and function,” Islam Online website reads.
The foundation deems it tragi-comic that Fico’s statements came on the same day that the government approved the nomination of Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák for the position of secretary general of United Nations, an institution whose very sense of existence is to fight against hatred and violence in the world.