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Právo: Imams in the Czech Republic posing no risk

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Prague, Aug 29 (CTK) – It is not necessary to check Muslim spiritual leaders, imams, in the Czech Republic over whether they may be radicals who might incite Muslims to hatred and terror, daily Pravo writes today, citing the replies from the Islamic community and security forces.

The community of Czech Muslims, who practice their religion in two mosques and a few prayer houses, is so small that they all know one another, Pravo writes.

In addition, there are only two imams in the Czech Republic.

In Spain, Islam is claimed by roughly two million people, while in the Czech Republic, the official number is about 4,000, it adds.

However, the figure differs from sociological surveys saying that maybe as many as 20,000 Muslims live in the Czech Republic, Pravo writes.

The real number may have also been boosted by the migrant crisis, it adds.

“From the viewpoint of the registration of imams, the community is so small that there is no need to register anyone,” Assem Atassi, from the Muslim Communities Centre, is quoted as saying.

The Muslims know one another across the Czech Republic, Atassi said.

The Interior Ministry is not speaking about any checking after the recent terrorist attacks in Spain either.

“The representantives of Muslim organisations and societies communicate with the state authorities and vice versa,” Interior Ministry spokeswoman Hana Mala told the paper.

In general, imams are a topic for security forces and intelligence services. They say the situation is quiet, Pravo writes.

“The BIS counter-intelligence has only recorded a few individuals and one small, closed group, but their efforts have failed and they often left the Czech Republic subsequently,” BIS spokesman Ladislav Sticha is quoted as saying.

Two imams work in Prague and Brno, Pravo writes.

Along with mosques in Prague and Brno, Muslims also have prayer houses, most notably that in Teplice, a spa town in north Bohemia with many guests from Arab countries, it adds.

Czech Muslims are resistant to a possible pressure from militants, Sticha said.

“As a whole, they behave in a moderate and correct fashion and there are also signs of certain ‘self-regulatory’ mechanisms when the crushing majority of the community members resist rare radicals who try to gain support for their ideology among them,” Sticha told the paper.

Nevertheless, the secret service is interested in the whereabouts of former Prague imam Samer Shehadeh, who reportedly asked Czech Muslims not to take part in a rally against terrorism along with Christians last year.

It has transpired that Shehadeh is outside the Czech Republic, Pravo writes.


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