Prague - Roughly 300 Muslims staged a protest prayer against the police raid on their mosques outside the Czech Interior Ministry in Prague today.
Asi 300 muslimů se 2. května sešlo poblíž ministerstva vnitra na pražské Letné k prostestní modlitbě kvůli nedávnému policejnímu zásahu v objektech Islámské nadace v Praze. ČTK Krumphanzl Michal
After the raid in two Prague centres of the Islamic Foundation last Friday, the police have charged the editor of a book on Islam with promoting a movement suppressing human rights and freedoms.
A number of those present, including diplomats from Indonesia, have complained about the police raid. They say the police came during the main Friday prayer, when there were about 100 people there.
The police may have staged the raid over the book called The Fundamental of Tawheed by Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, a Muslim militant who seems to justify suicide bombing as part of jihad and physical punishment of criminals, such as cutting off limbs. According to him, there is no such thing as rape in marriage under the Sharia law. Australia, Britain and Germany banned his entry.
The Muslims who attended the prayer say the police ordered all of them to lay down with their faces on the ground, aimed their guns at them and held them in the place for several hours.
Some representatives of other religions protested against the police raid earlier today. The Interior Ministry and the police themselves want to check it.
While watched by the police, the Muslims spread their prayer rags behind the Czech Interior Ministry building. There was no incident during the protest.
Tens of veiled Muslim women with children were sitting nearby.
Some protesters waved the banners saying "Just for a book" and "No to Racism" as well as pictures of a book chained by the barbed wire.
"Koran was quoted and an appeal was made on how a Muslim must come to terms when exposed to pressure. It was an appeal for the pressure to be settled by legal means," Muneeb Hassan Alrawi, head of the Muslim Communities Centre, told journalists.
He said the police raid had not been motivated by any specific book, but by someone' interest to harm the Muslim community in the public eye.
After the 30-minute prayer, Vladimir Sanka, director of the Islamic Centre in Prague, spoke.
"Islam respects the places set aside for worship. In our belief, they are sacred," Sanka said.
The media has written that Sanka may be the Czech, aged 55, who was looked for by the police. Sanka refused to comment on the allegation.
Alrawi distributed a statement denouncing the police action and voicing anger at the way it was conducted.
"We warn of growing extremism and anti-Muslim moods that may be caused by such (police ) acts," Alrawi wrote.