An Islamic preacher in the Czech Republic has come under severe criticism after telling Muslims they should equip themselves with weapons following the Christchurch attack in New Zealand.
Imam Leonid Kushnarenko, chairman of the Prague Muslim Community, posted the call for Muslims to arm themselves on Facebook on Sunday only days after the fatal shooting which saw 50 people killed in two mosques in Christchurch, Le Figaro reports.
“In the light of recent tragic events, I inform all our members, especially men, all who want to … arm themselves to protect their health and property. Contact me and I will help you. Salam Alaikum,” the Ukraine-born imam said.
“It’s a question of prevention. I said it to prevent fools from going to a mosque and doing bad things,” he later claimed.
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Pushback against the call came from members of the Czech Muslim community themselves, with the Prague Muslim Community stating that “any statement or act by chairman Kushnarenko is his private activity and does not represent the opinion of Muslims living in Prague or the Czech Republic” on Facebook.
They also added that they would be investigating how Kushnarenko had become the chairman of the group as well.
Muneeb Hassan Alrawi, head of the Czech Muslim Communities Centre, also commented on the statement, saying that he did not support it and called it a “wrong step.”
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The imam’s comments also come after Islamist Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was condemned for several inflammatory remarks in the wake of the deadly shooting, as well as broadcasting footage of the killings during a political rally.
This week Erdoğan went a step further, telling Australians and New Zealanders visiting Turkey for the anniversary of the World War One battle of Gallipoli that anti-Muslim tourists would be “sent back in coffins” like their grandfathers.
BREAKING: Turkish Born Utrecht Tram Shooting Suspect Charged with Terror Offences https://t.co/mtSyC49lZ6
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