In an interesting reversal of the usual pattern of events, police in the Czech Republic raided several Islamic locations today for “racism” and “xenophobia”, based on the distribution of a book of Islamic teachings. In Western Europe, Islam-critics are the only people who need to fear such accusations.
Among the establishments visited by the police was the Islamic Foundation in Prague.
Many thanks to Gemini for this abridged translation of an article from iDNES.cz:
Police in Prague intervened in Muslim places after being notified of racist book, seized ten persons
“Detectives from the police organized crime unit initiated criminal trial procedures, carried out because of the illegal activity of a certain person who is suspected of the publication and distribution of book propagating racism, antisemitism, xenophobia and violence against so-called inferior races,” Pavel Hanták, the spokesman for the unit, announced.
In addition to other places, policemen intervened at the headquarters of the Islamic Foundation in Prague in Politických vězňů street in Prague’s centre. According to its website, it is a place of prayer, where lectures, Arabic courses and preaching in both Arabic and the Czech language also take place.
After 2 p.m. five handcuffed persons were taken away. Later a few more followed. In the end, their number could reach a total of ten persons. Police did not want to confirm any number so far. The whole intervention had taken about four and a half hours.
One of the persons present at the places of intervention was the first secretary of the Indonesian embassy Wahono Yuliano, who along with other embassy’s employees was taking part in prayers. According to one of the witnesses, the first people released from the mosque were those who were ill, parents with children and then diplomats. Others remained inside.
Another intervention carried out by the police took place in the prayer room on Blatská street in Prague 9. According to an iDNES.cz journalist, Muslims complained that police interrupted their prayers. Around 70 persons were in the building, including women and children.
The spokesman for the unit assured journalists that police operated “with highest consideration for persons who were present and respected their freedom of religion.”
House searches were carried in several other places. According to former Muslim Lukáš Lhoťan, intervention could likely be related to criminal charge he filed a few days ago.
“I believe it is related to the book Foundations of Tauhid — The Islamic Concept of God (Základy tauhídu – Islámský koncept Boha) by an author who is forbidden in Germany and other Western countries. The book is listed among other radical titles there. It is possible that this police intervention has to do something with this book,” Lhoťan added. The book in question that has been published by the Muslim organisation in Czech republic (Ústředí muslimských obcí) is also being sold by regular online bookstores. Police, however, do not want to specify the title. “We neither confirm nor deny that this book is concerned. We really won’t deliver any other information,” the spokesman for the unit stated.
Update: Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for uploading the video accompanying the news story:
Below are excerpts from two English-language news stories about today’s arrests in Prague. First, from ČeskéNoviny.cz (hat tip LB):
Five Men Suspected of Spreading Harmful Book Arrested in Prague
Prague – Czech police detained five people in a raid on the Muslim community in Prague, handcuffed them and drove them away in a van today, Pavel Hantak, spokesman for the Squad for Uncovering Organised Crime (UOOZ), has said.
He said detectives interfered in several places in Prague centre on suspicion of the publication and distribution of a book spreading racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and violence against “inferior” races.
Hantak said the police checked places where bigger numbers of religious-oriented people regularly meet.
One of such places is the Islamic Foundation in the centre of Prague, where the five above people were detained.
The premises include a place of prayer and rooms where lectures, Arabic courses and Friday sermons in Arabic and Czech are given.
According to witnesses, some 100 people were in the mosque. The police action frustrated today’s main prayer of which many of the released people complained.
One of the persons present was the first secretary of the Indonesian embassy, who said armed police entered the mosque and told the present to lie down.
Some people wanted to talk to the police, but they did not succeed, the diplomat, who was accompanied to the mosque by other members of the embassy, told journalists.
And from The Prague Post (hat tip Fjordman):
Police Accuse Man Over Islamic Book After Prague Mosque Raid
Unnamed 55 year old faces up to 10 years in prison over translation of controversial book
Prague, April 26 (CTK) — The Czech police have accused the editor of a book on Islam of promoting a movement suppressing human rights and freedoms after a raid in two Prague centers of the Islamic Foundation on Friday, Pavel Hantak, spokesman for the police unit fighting organized crime (UOOZ), told CTK today.
The suspect is a 55-year-old man who has Czech citizenship. He had the controversial book translated to Czech and he provided for its publishing and distribution. He man may end up in prison for up to 10 years.
Within the raid, about 20 people were questioned and several of them may be expelled from the country.
Hantak said the police decided not to release the name of the book because they do not want to advertise it in this way.
The book allegedly spreads racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and violence against “inferior” races, he said.
The police stayed in the premises of the Islamic Foundation from Friday to Saturday morning. On Friday, they interfered in a mosque on the city’s outskirts and in the office and prayer room in the city center.