Burqas, mosques, ‘gay propaganda’ all banned in Hungarian village

© Ammar Awad
The far-right mayor of a southern Hungarian village has banned the open expression of Islam, including the building of mosques and wearing of veils and headscarves, as well as the promotion of same-sex marriages.

In a post on Facebook, Laszlo Toroczkai, mayor of Asotthalom, a village near the Serbian border, outlined the proposals adopted by his council after a session on Wednesday.

All board members voted for the new rules, with only two abstentions.

“Instead of looking for a scapegoat, I offer an immediate solution, a defense against the forced mass resettlement [of migrants] by Brussels,” Toroczkai wrote in his post.

“Today the Asotthalom village council adopted my proposal – which is an action package – to defend our community and traditions from any plan for the outside resettlement [of migrants]. All that needs to be done is for the rest of Hungary’s municipalities to adopt our preventative action package, and with that we will have defended our homeland.” 

The mayor of the Hungarian border village of Asotthalom, Laszlo Toroczkai © Laszlo Balogh

The measures that Toroczkai put in place include a ban on the construction of mosques and any other place of worship which undermines the Catholic Church, a ban on the muezzin’s traditional call to prayer, and a ban on all face coverings such as the hijab, niqab and burqa, as well as the burkini.

Additionally, the ordinance also bans any kind of “public propaganda” which shows the institution of marriage being in any way other than “between a man and woman. This includes any public activity, performance, demonstrations, billboard, leaflet, or audio advertisement.”

These measures, Toroczkai says, will protect Hungary from the “two pagans”: migration from the south, and “extreme liberalism” from the West.

Toroczkai belongs to the far-right Jobbik party, whose stated aim is protecting “Hungarian values and interests.” But the party has also been accused of racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia.

"I want to be an example to other pioneering local authorities on how to protect themselves from external resettlement or any other subversive intentions," he said at the council meeting, as reported by delmagyar.hu.

Toroczkai is also the leader of the Sixty-Four Countries Youth Movement, a nationalist group seeking to reclaim lands that have historically belonged to Hungary. He is also known for his harsh anti-migrant rhetoric, including an action-movie like video showing big, burly men giving chase to illegal immigrants on motorcycles, helicopters and even on horseback.

Hungary is one of the European countries least welcoming to refugees and asylum seekers. In a referendum held in October, 98.3 percent of Hungarian voters rejected mandatory EU asylum seeker quotas in a referendum proposed by PM Viktor Orban. However, the referendum failed to reach the required 50 percent turnout, partly due to a boycott by the opposition. Orban himself has made a number of remarks on the subject, including suggesting that all refugees who came illegally be deported onto camps on an island or off the coast of Africa.