Slovakia – along with many other Central and Eastern European countries–has repeatedly adopted a hard-line stance against the integration of Islam, perhaps overshadowed by right-populist countries such as Poland and Hungary.
According to Voice of Europe, Slovakia is the last EU member state without a Mosque within its borders.
At the inception of the 2015 Migrant Crisis, Slovakia refused a small quota of 200 Muslim migrants, according to the Telegraph.
An interior minister, at the time, said, “We want to help Europe with the migration issue. We could take 800 Muslims but we don’t have any mosques in Slovakia so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?”
Slovakia still doesn’t recognize Islam as an official religion; and the 5,000–or 0.1% of the population–who call the Central European country their home are of European descent, galvanizing the interior minister’s argument concerning integration.
Referring to Slovakia’s politicians’ view on the matter, Indian publication, The Youth, said, “In the year of 2007, politicians had changed the nation’s laws, rules and regulations so much so that 20,000 signatures from members were required to be recognized by the state.”
“In 2017, they were more than doubled the number of required signatures.”
Additionally, that small Muslim population is not afforded the same religious rights as 18 other groups recognized by the country’s government. This means that no religious leaders, marriages, or similar financial contributions are provided.
Following the 2015 anti-Muslim stance, the European Commission disapproved, saying, “We act here in the spirit of the treaty, which prevents any form of discrimination.”
In 2016, according to the Independent, Prime Minister Robert Fico said: “I’m sorry, Islam has no place in Slovakia. It is the duty of politicians to talk about these things very clearly and openly. I do not wish there were tens of thousands of Muslims.”
He also said, “I talked about this several times with the Maltese Prime Minister, who told me that the problem is not that they were coming, but they are changing the character of the country.
“And we do not want to change the traditions of the country, which is built on Constantine-Methodist tradition.”
Fico later implied that he wished to preserve his country’s cultural heritage–which he believed would be jeopardized by the inclusion of culturally incompatible migrants.
The anti-Islamic stance has not been met without resistance.
In an interview with the Slovak Spectator, the Islamic Foundation in Slovakia said, “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.”
Despite this, other politicians maintain their position on the topic. For example, MP Andrej Danko said: “Islamization begins with kebab and in Bratislava it has already begun. So understand what it could be like in 5-10 years.”