Police raid on Prague Muslim centres was lawful - ministry


09.05.2014 18:49

Prague - The Squad for Uncovering Organised Crime's (UOOZ) raid on Muslim centres in Prague two weeks ago was in harmony with Czech law, the Interior Ministry said today, after Police President Tomas Tuhy informed the minister about the internal investigation's results.


Kriminalisté z Útvaru pro odhalování organizovaného zločinu (ÚOOZ) zasahovali 25. dubna na několika místech Prahy kvůli podezření z vydání a distribuce knihy, která šíří rasismus, antisemitismus, xenofobii a násilí proti takzvaným méněcenným rasám. ČTK to řekl mluvčí útvaru Pavel Hanták. Jedním z míst, kde policisté zasahovali, bylo i sídlo Islámské nadace Praha v ulici Politických vězňů (na snímku). ČTK Doležal Michal

However, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) asked police to take all aspects and risks of similar raids into consideration next time.

The raid, motivated by a suspicion of the publication and distribution of a book spreading racism, was checked since it was criticised by Czech Muslims and Indonesia's Embassy in Prague complained about it.

Representatives of Czech Christian churches and the Jewish community joined the criticism of the raid.

The Interior Ministry informed the public about preliminary results of the check of the raid earlier this week.

The police intervened in the Islamic centre in Prague before the regular Friday prayer and this is why they could not disturb it and they called on diplomats, women, children and the disabled to leave the place right away, Chovanec told CTK on Tuesday.

"The police president today acquainted me with a comprehensive inquiry into the raid, which seems to be in harmony with Czech law," Chovanec said.

However, he cannot and does not want to have detailed information about the case since the investigation is underway, he added.

"On the other hand, I can understand the indignation of the so far peaceful Muslim community in the Czech Republic. At the same time, I have asked representatives of the police and the BIS and UZSI [civilian and military intelligence services] to jointly take other aspects and risks that similar actions can provoke into consideration in the future," Chovanec said today.

Apart from the timing of the police raid, Muslims complained that policemen had walked in shoes in the house of prayer, which is prohibited according to Muslim habits.

The UOOZ unit raided the premises of the Islamic Foundation in two buildings in Prague centre and on its outskirts, where Muslims gathered for their regular Friday prayer, on April 25 and they detained dozens of people, including some Indonesian diplomats.

Armed policemen forced the people inside to keep their heads down on the ground and they were training their guns on them, the Muslims present told reporters.

After the raid, the police accused a 55-year-old Czech man of support for and promotion of a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms through the publication and distribution of a book allegedly spreading racism.

Media speculate that the accused may be Vladimir Sanka, director of the Islamic Centre in Prague.

Media have reported that the raid may be connected with the Czech edition of The Fundamentals of Tawheed, a book by Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, a Muslim militant who seems to justify suicide bombing as part of jihad.

Former Czech Muslim Lukas Lhotan filed a complaint against the publishing of the book, saying it promotes extreme Muslim views.

On the other hand, Sanka repeatedly sued Lhotan in the past.

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