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Conflicting takes on Islamism

May 6th, 2019

A Muslim imam writing in the leading left-wing liberal weekly likens the Hungarian government to the Taliban. Columnists of a pro-government weekly fear the outbreak of a ‘religious World War’, and see Christianity in jeopardy.

In Heti Világgazdaság, Muslim imam József Bordás speculates that the Hungarian government’s anti-Muslim rhetoric harms not only the interests of Muslims, but will, in the long run, weaken Christian churches as well. Bordás accuses the government of using religion for political purposes. In Bordás’s interpretation, the government uses Christianity to boost its popularity while fomenting anti-Muslim hatred. As a result, ‘Muslims are the new Jews’, he adds. Bordás goes so far as to likening the government to the Taliban in Afghanistan, accusing the Hungarian government of treating political opponents as if they were religious ‘renegades’. In the long run, the government’s ‘illiberal hate mongering’ and use of Christianity for political reasons will alienate Christians from Christianity, and might even turn many to Islam, Bordás speculates. In an aside, he remarks that ‘the fall of Christianity could heat up hatred and undermine security in Hungary’. In conclusion, he calls on Christians and Muslims to support parties that do not use religion as a political weapon.

Magyar Demokrata editor András Bencsik calls on Christians to wake up before religious animosity escalates. The pro-government pundit recalls instances of Muslim violence against Christians in Europe and beyond. Bencsik fears that the spiralling of religious violence between Christians and Muslims may soon lead to ‘a religious World War’. He accuses the German government of weakening Christianity by closing Catholic churches. Bencsik also thinks that the willingness of Europeans to recognize and welcome Muslim migrants makes Muslims even more aggressive and pretentious. All this, Bencsik concludes, may lead to large scale religious bloodshed.

Writing in the same weekly, László Szentesi Zöld contends that multiculturalism plays into the hands of violent Muslim fundamentalists. The conservative commentator believes that Islam can only operate peacefully in the Middle East, where it was born, and where, according to Szentesi Zöld, there are no religions that would contest Islam. Szentesi Zöld contrasts Muslim terrorists with other political terrorist groups by claiming that Muslim radicals have no concrete objectives and use violence to create fear, while often killing Muslims as well. Therefore, it is impossible to make peace with Islamists, Szentesi Zöld thinks. He goes on to write that Europe’s peace can only be defended if multiculturalism and the mixing of religions is avoided, and ‘people recognize who their enemies are’.

On Mandiner, Gergely Szilvay lambasts liberals for not acknowledging the need for solidarity with the Christian victims of the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks. (Liberal MP Anett Bősz accused the government of ‘committing a historical sin’ by using the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks to claim that Christians are persecuted.) Szilvay finds it absurd to suggest that expressions of solidarity with any persecuted group could hurt anyone. The conservative pundit writes that we should also express our sympathy for Muslims, Buddhists and everyone else hit by violence or natural disasters. He claims that liberals also express their solidarity with suffering minorities – unless they are Christian. Szilvay finds it normal that ‘we feel particularly affected’ when Hungarians or Christians living beyond Hungary’s borders are suffering.

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