2016-12-10 19:24:00

Protests in Hungarian border village over anti-Muslim, anti-gay decree

(Vatican Radio) Rights activists have expressed concern about a new local law introduced near the Hungarian-Serbian border which bans the public expression of the Muslim religion as well as activities and awareness-raising that empower homosexuals. The decree in the southern Hungarian border of Ásotthalom was introduced by a controversial mayor and politician.  

Listen to the report by Stefan Bos:

László Toroczkai already produced a Hollywood-style action video showing fast motors and jeeps riding border hunters warning migrants fleeing war and poverty not to arrive in Hungary and especially not in the border town of Ásotthalom. 

Now the mayor of this town of just over 4,000 goes even further. Mayor Toroczkai, who is also vice president of the far-right Jobbik party, has introduced a decree banning the public expression of the Muslim religion in the area. 

The measure bans wearing veils and building mosques. And he told Vatican Radio that he views this as a model for Hungary where last year some 400,000 migrants arrived, many through Ásotthalom, on their way to more welcoming Western nations. "If every Hungarian city and town will have these local laws we will be able to protect the whole country against this Islamization," Toroczkai said.                 

On Saturday, activists gathered in his town to protest against the decree, which also includes a ban on propaganda for homosexuality. Yet, hardline Mayor Toroczkai declined to reach out to demonstrators asking for more tolerance.  "This demonstration, provocation and propaganda will change the people and will make hatred and intolerance in Ásotthalom and the world. You know the world is changing...", he added.   

Not everyone agrees with him. Yet more municipalities may follow his example. Hungary is increasing its anti-migrant rhetoric. And thousands of police and soldiers are involved in trying to stop refugees near a massive razor-wire border fence.     

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