28.4.2016 

In the Czech Republic during the late night hours of 23 April and the early morning hours of 24 April 2016, neo-Nazis attacked several businesses involved with the HateFree Zone network. (Collage: Romea.cz)

The leadership of the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren has expressed support for its Diaconiorganization in Prague after an attack by right-wing radicals who spray-painted its vandalization 1headquarters with threatening messages last weekend. In a statement released yesterday, members of the church leadership said aggression and calling for the death of others contravenes the spirit of the gospel.

Unidentified perpetrators spray-painted the buildings of businesses and organizations in Prague that combat hatred and prejudice in society, with some of the messages including neo-Nazi symbols. On the doors of Diaconia and other buildings in Prague, somebody wrote “Death to HateFree“, a reference to the Czech Government’s campaign of that name.vandalization 2

“The vandals targeted businesses and institutions involved in the HateFree Zone network, places that have pledged that those visiting them will not encounter hatred or violence there,” reads the statement. The church is one of the biggest Protestant churches in the Czech Republic.

“We don’t want to underestimate such behavior and fall into a state of indifference to it. We will do everything we can to make sure these attacks are properly investigated. We are glad the church has been, is, and will be a place open to all,” the church announced.

Daniel Ženatý, one of the top two representatives of the Evangelical Church, sent a message to the public yesterday while cleaning the building that nobody should allow themselves to be terrorized. “It’s necessary to stand up to all of these attacks. As Christians we are free people, nobody can force us to act or behave differently as human beings,” he said.

Diaaonia is the second-biggest non-state organization involved in providing social services and civic assistance in the country, and Ženatý said the organization will continue to aid all people irrespective of their religion, sexual orientation, skin color or world view. Police officers are investigating a total of seven cases of threatening graffiti that turned up over the weekend on the storefronts of cafés or in the vestibule of the metro station at Karlovo náměstí in Prague.

In addition to the “Death to HateFree” slogan, media reports that the perpetrators also wrote “Antifa will pay” (a reference to the Antifascist Action organization) and “Refugees Go Home” as well as neo-Nazi symbols. The perpetrators are wanted for the graffiti and for felony hate crimes.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Alber

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