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Aljazeera: Muslims put off by Hungaryʼs growing Islamophobia

While Muslim tourists may be attracted to Hungary by the recent discovery of what is believed to be the tomb of Suleiman the Magnificent in Szigetvár, the worsening treatment of Muslim people in this country is stirring distrust by residents and would-be visitors, according to a report published Thursday by Aljazeera.

Hilmi Türkmen, mayor of Üsküdar in Turkey, left, and Károly Szita, mayor of Kaposvár, the Hungarian sister city of Üsküdar, lay wreaths at the Hungarian-Turkish Friendship Park in Szigetvár on December 19 after visiting the apparent site of the tomb of Suleiman the Magnificent. (Photo: MTI/Péter Lendvai)

Late last year, after archeologists said they found evidence proving that Ottoman-era ruler Sultan Suleiman was buried in Szigetvár, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly announced plans to visit the site in September, for the 450th anniversary of the Sultanʼs death. If confirmed, the presence 0f the tomb is expected to draw many Muslim tourists.

But local Muslim organizations quoted in the article said that Muslims have been put off this country by the blatant anti-Muslim rhetoric of the prime minister – who has said that Europe must try to remain Christian – along with day-to-day incidents of prejudice.

“In Hungary our situation was quite good in the past. We lived in peace, with no major problems,” said Zoltán Sulok, the president of the Organization of Muslims in Hungary, according to Aljazeera. “But with the way key speakers of the government have communicated, the general situation has deteriorated, and now there are lots of verbal insults and even attacks against Muslims. ... Women are insulted and sometimes spat on, or their headscarves are dragged down. This never happened before.”

The article added a comment from Ahmed Miklós Kovács, vice president of the the Hungarian Islamic Community in Budapest, who said: “Society here is now very anti-immigrant and anti-refugee, and with that has come a very strong anti-Muslim feeling too.”