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Soltész: Muslims should keep their mouths shut

Under Secretary for Religious Affairs Miklós Soltész doesn’t get why the Hungarian Islamic Community declared the government’s anti-Islam rhetoric as haram (sinful). Soltész thinks Hungary’s Muslim community should be happy their religion was granted state recognition and has received billions of forints in public funds, reports Hungary’s state run-media.

They should keep their mouths shut because we give them money

The Hungarian Islamic Community’s criticism of the Hungarian government is “more than just being unfriendly”, says Soltész, especially because the religion has been the recipient of public funds.

According to hirado.hu, the Hungarian Islamic Community received around HUF 70 million (USD 252,000) in public funds between 2011 and 2015, and the Hungarian Muslim Church has received HUF 17 million (USD 61,200) for religious purposes.

Schools and kindergartens run by the community received HUF 43 million (USD 154,800) in 2013 and more than HUF 225 million (USD  810,000) in 2014 in state subsidies, report the state-run news website.

The Hungarian Islamic Community received HUF 1.6 billion (USD 5.7 million) in subsidies for social work in 2013 and 1.43 billion (USD 5.15 million) in 2014.

Zoltán Bolek, president of the Hungarian Islamic Community, announced the haram last week in response to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s islamophobic statements on Kossuth Rádió.

Soltész fired back against the haram by publicly calling on Bolek to explain “how much state subsidies do Christians in Muslim countries receive for faith activities, social work, and educational programs?”

No separation of church and state

The Church Law of 2011 (which will likely be changed later this year after being struck down by the European Court of Human Rights) provides the government far too much arbitrary political authority to interfere financially and legally in the activities of faith-based organizations in Hungary.

Money, it seems, is how the state seeks to keep state-recognized religious organizations on a short leash. Hungary’s current refugee crisis has provided numerous examples of religious organizations siding with the government (herehere and here) in the highly politicized and extremist rhetoric which aims at downplaying the need for providing humanitarian solutions during the crisis.

Benjamin Novak :