BRATISLAVA — Lawmakers in Slovakia have passed a law banning Islam from being officially recognized as a religion in the country.
“Since Slovakia is a Christian country, we cannot tolerate an influx of 300,000-400,000 Muslim immigrants who would like to start building mosques all over our land and trying to change the nature, culture and values of the state,” Prime Minister Robert Fico had said in January 2015.
Lawmakers passed a bill on Nov. 30 sponsored by the Slovak National Party (SNS) that requires religions to have at least 50,000 adherents in the nation to receive subsidies and to operate its own schools, according to Reuters. There are an estimated 2,000-5,000 Muslims living in Slovakia, less than one percent of the 5.4 million population.
Over 60 percent of the nation identifies as Roman Catholic and only nine percent is evangelical Christian.
“Islamization starts with a kebab and it’s already under way in Bratislava,” said Andrej Danko with the SNS, who had also reportedly wanted to ban the wearing of burkas. “Let’s realize what we can face in five to 10 years. We must do everything we can so that no mosque is built in the future.”
The law is also stated to keep out mock religions, such as the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which has followers scattered worldwide. It passed with a two-thirds majority.
Slovakia had issued a stipulation last year in regard to the global refugee crisis in stating that it would not receive Muslims, and therefore only welcomed 200 refugees.
“I think it is the duty of politicians to talk about these things very clearly and openly,” Fico said in May. “I do not wish there were tens of thousands of Muslims. They are changing the character of the countries [they come to].”
Evangelicals in America have been divided on the issue.
“Our faith inspires us to respond with compassion and hospitality to those fleeing violence and persecution,” the Evangelical Immigration Table wrote in a letter to U.S. Congress this year. “Jesus Himself was a refugee, and He teaches us to do unto others as we would have them do to us. Compassion is not in conflict with national security.”
“The Bible does not teach open and undiscerning welcome, but only wise welcome,” Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration also wrote to lawmakers. “We are to embrace the lawful and well-meaning foreigner, who, like a convert, comes as blessing (e.g. book of Ruth). Elsewhere we find the building of walls to protect from harmful foreigners (e.g. Nehemiah).”