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Islam becomes word of year 2015 in Czech daily’s poll

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Prague, Dec 28 (CTK) – Islam has been chosen as the Czech word of the year by the editorial staff of the daily Lidove noviny (LN) as the key notion for the refugee crisis, the conflict of cultures and comments of the attacks by Islamic State in 2015, LN wrote Monday.

According to the latest STEM poll, Czechs fear Islam more than refugees heading for Europe en masse. Over 80 percent of the polled, including people from all age groups and with various education levels, have expressed fears of the expansion of this religion in the Czech Republic, LN adds.

According to a poll conduced on a sample of LN readers, the word expressing the situation in 2015 most aptly is “refugee.”

“This word, too, proves the fact that language is mainly a social phenomenon,” Karel Oliva, from the Czech Language Institute of the Science Academy (AV), told LN.

Up to two-thirds of Czechs fear refugees, according to polls.

“The fear of refugees is for many people a substitutionary expression of their fear of terrorism, international organised crime and Islamic fundamentalism,” the STEM polling agency said.

LN writes that the people flowing to Europe mainly from the Middle East and Africa are called either migrants or refugees or possibly asylum seekers. However, Czechs consider the word refugees as the most distinctive. Almost 51 percent of the polled LN readers voted for it, the paper adds.

Moreover, some experts use even the expression “voluntary migrants” for people leaving their country mostly for economic reasons, while they do not face serious threats there, and “involuntary migrants” whose lives are threatened, for instance due to a war conflict, and should be provided temporary protection at least, LN adds.

Nevertheless, migration experts point out that it is hard to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary migrants at present, LN adds.

The word of the year in 2014 was “sanctions,” referring to the Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its annexation of Crimea and involvement in Ukraine, LN writes.

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