Czech Republic: Anti-Islam group launched petition against refugee quotas
Representatives of the new association 'Bloc Against Islam' handed over its petition against the obligatory reception of refugees in the Czech Republic to MPs, claiming that Czechs feel insecure and fearful of the Arabs and Africans who are currently in refugee camps in southern Europe. Organisers managed to collect over 145,000 signatures. In reaction to strong anti-refugee public opinion expressed in the petition and in public opinion surveys, the Czech government along with other V4 countries decided to reject the proposed quotas at the EU leaders summit held in Brussels on 23 June and stick to the redistribution of refugees on voluntary basis.
However, as weekly Respekt pointed out, in the mid-1990s, 3,500 refugees from Bosnia, mostly Muslims, arrived in the Czech Republic and around 2,000 of them remained in the country; this was not considered to be at all problematic at the time. In comparison, about 1,000 people applied for asylum in the Czech Republic in 2014 and nearly 400 were granted asylum.