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Muslim community weighs charges against Okamura over anti-Muslim statements
by Jan Velinger
The leader of the populist Dawn Party Tomio Okamura has found himself at the centre of a scandal, endorsing a highly questionable text by his deputy on his Facebook page. In it, he suggested Czechs should shun Muslim-owned businesses or should provoke Muslims by walking pigs in the vicinity of mosques. At first, part of the community shrugged off the rhetoric; now though, representatives are considering filing charges for hate speech.
In the past, politician Tomio Okamura, of Czech-Japanese descent, used to describe in interviews how he suffered discrimination in both former Czechoslovakia and Japan. If he suffered, by appearances it didn't make him particularly sensitive to difficulties faced by other minorities. Since moving into politics from the field of tourism, he has taken aim at the Roma and now at the country's tiny Muslim population.
Regarding Muslims in the Czech Republic, just days ago Mr Okamura endorsed a text calling on ordinary Czechs to boycott Muslim-owned businesses - including kebab stands - as a means of blocking the so-called spread of the burqa. He went to pains to say he would have opted for different language than his deputy, but made clear he otherwise wholeheartedly agreed with the sentiment expressed. Here's what he told Czech TV:
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