Czech President Milos Zeman defended the speech he made at the Israeli Embassy in Prague, where he quoted Islamic scripture, a hadith - a tradition of Prophet Muhammad’s sayings urging Muslims to kill Jews. Zeman’s spokesperson Jiri Ovcacek confirmed on June 13 that the President would not apologize for linking Islamic ideology with violence.
“President Zeman definitely does not intend to apologize… For the president would consider it blasphemy to apologize for the quotation of a sacred Islamic text,” said Ovcacek.
Zeman responded via his spokesperson after Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Ameed Madani issued a statement criticizing the President’s speech.
He said, “It is only appropriate that President Milōs Zeman apologizes to the millions of Muslims worldwide for his deeply offensive and hateful anti Islam statements.”
The statement released by the OIC asserted that Islam is a non-violent religion that advocates peace and tolerance and said under no circumstance must terrorism be equated with a particular religion or race, a stance that has been adopted by all United Nations texts on the issue of countering terrorism.
During his speech in Prague, Zeman had reflected on the terror attack at the Brussels Jewish Museum, the primary suspect of which is French Islamist Mehdi Nemmouche, who is now believed to be an ISIS militant. Zeman’s speech was widely reported and criticized in equal proportion.
Here is a look at what he said:
There are states with whom we share the same values, such as the political horizon of free elections or a free market economy. However, no one threatens these states with wiping them off the map. No one fires at their border towns; no one wishes that their citizens would leave their country. There is a term, political correctness. This term I consider to be a euphemism for political cowardice. Therefore, let me not be cowardly.
There are dozens of days of independence being celebrated every year in the Czech Republic. Some I may attend, others I cannot. There is one I can never miss, however: it’s the Israeli Independence Day.
There was a hideous assassination in the flower of Europe in the heart of European Union in a Jewish museum in Brussels. I will not let myself being calmed down by the declaration that there are only tiny fringe groups behind it. On the contrary, I am convinced that this xenophobia, and let’s call it racism or antisemitism, emerges from the very essence of the ideology these groups subscribe to.
So let me quote one of their sacred texts to support this statement: ‘A tree says, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. A stone says, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’
I would criticize those calling for the killing of Arabs, but I do not know of any movement calling for mass murdering of Arabs. However, I know of one anti-civilization movement calling for the mass murder of Jews.
After all, one of the paragraphs of the statutes of Hamas says: ‘Kill every Jew you see.’ Do we really want to pretend that this is an extreme viewpoint? Do we really want to be politically correct and say that everyone is nice and only a small group of extremists and fundamentalists is committing such crimes?
Muslim extremists have in fact targeted and persecuted Jews for over a thousand years. However, Madani claimed that anti-Semitism was a European phenomenon. While condemning Zeman’s speech, Madani referred to the Czech President as Islamophobic before demanding an apology from him. Madani himself hails from Saudi Arabia where synagogues and churches cannot be built and non-Muslims are forbidden from entering the holy city of Mecca.