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Methodists, Buddhists and Muslims to submit an application for recognition

Parliament's recently passed law reduced the number of recognized churches from over 300 to 14. Many, like the Methodist, Buddhist and Muslim communities, got left out and will now have to submit their applications

The Methodist, Buddhist and Islamic communities of Hungary have expressed dismay over the country’s new church law failing to recognise them as churches, reported Politics.hu.

Parliament passed a cardinal law on churches in a vote on Monday. The law defines 14 churches and religious communities; other denominations will further need two-thirds parliamentary approval to become registered as a church or religious community.

Head of the Hungarian Methodist Church Istvan Csernak told MTI on Wednesday that his community – a hundred-year-old organisation – was “shocked” to learn that it had been omitted from the 14 churches listed in the new law. However, Csernak acknowledged that the law was “important and necessary” to filter out “business-based” organisations.

Csernak also said that his church would soon submit its application for official registration under the new law, and added that the Justice Ministry had already assured the Methodists of its support.

Zoltan Bolek, head of the Hungarian Islamic Community, said that they had been “dismayed” to learn that they have not been listed among the 14 churches and religious communities, but similarly acknowledged parliament’s decision. Bolek quoted unnamed government representatives as saying that the community met the new legal requirements and encouraged it to apply for church status.

Leader of the Buddhist Karma-Kagyupa Community Zsolt Balog said his organisation was fully compatible with the requirements and it would submit its application for registration as soon as possible.