Hungarian top court repeals village’s ban on mosques, burkas

Hungarian top court repeals village's ban on mosques, burkas

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary’s constitutional Court on Wednesday repealed a ban by a village led by a far-right mayor on the construction of mosques and headscarves like burkas and chadors worn by Muslim women.

The village also outlawed the activity of muezzins, and it prohibited any “propaganda” or activities promoting marriage not exclusively between a man and a woman or which failed to recognize marriage and the parent-child relationship as the bases for family ties.

The rules, whose constitutionality was challenged by Hungary’s commissioner for fundamental rights, “aim to limit directly the freedom of conscience and religion, as well freedom of speech,” the court said in its ruling.

The measures had been in place since November in the village of Asotthalom, on the Serbian border, led by Mayor Laszlo Toroczkai of the far-right Jobbik party.

Before Hungary built fences on its borders with Serbia and Croatia in late 2015, Asotthalom was a frequent point of entry into Hungary for migrants and refugees on their way to Western Europe.

Last year, Toroczkai said the ordinance was adopted to defend the village’s “community and traditions” and linked it to a plan by the European Union to resettle asylum-seekers among the members of the 28-nation bloc. Hungary is challenging the EU plan at the European Court of Justice.

The Associated Press

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