SLOVAKIA has passed a law which will effectively ban Islam from gaining official status as a religion, in the latest signs of a growing anti-Muslim sentiment across Europe.
Parliament adopted a bill sponsored by the Slovak National Party (SNS), which requires that a religion now must have at least 50,000 members, before a religion had to have 20,000 members to qualify for state subsidies and to run its own schools.
The change will make it much harder to register Islam, which has just 2,000 supporters in Slovakia according to the latest census and no recognised mosques. The Islamic Foundation in Slovakia estimates the number at around 5,000.
The SNS said the new law was meant to prevent speculative registrations of churches, such as the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which has amassed followers worldwide.
Prime minister Robert Fico’s government has repeatedly said Islam has no place in Slovakia.
A series of Islamist terror attacks across Europe has stoked an anti-Muslim feeling across the continent, making way for far-right, anti-immigrant parties. Attitudes toward the religion appears to be a fear of so-called Islamisation.