Slovakia, a predominantly Catholic country, passed a law Wednesday that bans Islam from being officially registered as a religion.
The law, sponsored by the Slovak National Party (SNS), requires that a religion should have at least 50,000 members before it can be allowed to have official status as a religion. This effectively blocks Islam, which only has about 2,000 adherents in the country.
Before the law was passed, the previous requirement for the registration of a religion was 20,000 members. Religions that are officially recognized are eligible for state subsidies and can set up their own schools, according to Reuters.
The new legislation will also block religions like the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which has followers worldwide.
"Islamisation starts with a kebab and it's already under way in Bratislava,” SNS chairman Andrej Danko said, according to Reuters. “Let's realize what we can face in five to 10 years ... We must do everything we can so that no mosque is built in the future."
Slovakia has a population of 5.4 million, and more than 60 percent are Catholic. Evangelical Christians make up nine percent, while Muslims account for less than one percent of the population.
Slovakia has expressed on more than one occasion that Islam has no place in the country. Weeks before it took over the presidency of the European Union, Slovakia Prime Minister Robert Fico said in May that he would not let even one Muslim immigrant in the country.
Fico believes letting Muslim immigrants in will “change the character” of Slovakia.
“I talked about this several times with the Maltese Prime Minister, who told me that the problem is not that they were coming, but they are changing the character of the country,” he said. “We do not want to change the traditions of the country, which is built on Constantine-Methodist tradition.”
The country only allowed 200 immigrants into its borders. Officials reasoned they could not accept Muslim immigrants because there aren't any mosques there. However, the European Commission said this move could be an act of discrimination and could have legal repercussions.
In the U.S., Christians are divided over the issue of accepting refugees. One group called the Evangelical Immigration Table, addressed the U.S. Congress in a letter saying, “Our faith inspires us to respond with compassion and hospitality to those fleeing violence and persecution.”
“Jesus Himself was a refugee, and He teaches us to do unto others as we would have them do to us. Compassion is not in conflict with national security,” it said, according to Christian News.
Another group, Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration, also wrote to Congress expressing the opposite stance, emphasizing the need to have wisdom in welcoming refugees.
“The Bible does not teach open and undiscerning welcome, but only wise welcome,” the group said. “We are to embrace the lawful and well-meaning foreigner, who, like a convert, comes as a blessing (e.g. book of Ruth). Elsewhere we find the building of walls to protect from harmful foreigners (e.g. Nehemiah).”