Veiling has been a subject of controversy in the Czech Republic of late. Last week, a Prague court rejected a suit over a school veil ban, ruling in favor of a nursing school that banned a Somali refugee student from wearing a headscarf.
And now a Prague fast-food restaurant has been accused of discrimination for posting a “no-niqab” sticker on its door.
Pikant Gril Palmovka posted the sticker, an illustration of a veiled woman with a slash through it, on its door last Wednesday, according to reports from iDnes.cz.
The “ban” lasted only a couple of hours; the sticker was apparently removed that same evening.
The owner of the restaurant, Vítězslav Novák, is the Prague chairman of Tomio Okamura’s SPD (Svoboda a přímá demokraci) party, one of the most vocal opponents of immigrants in the Czech Republic.
Novák initially refused to discuss the details of the ban with the media referring journalists to party leader Okamura.
He finally admitted to Novinky.cz that he would refuse to serve a veiled woman in his establishment.
“If someone came to me and you can only see two eyes I wouldn’t serve him or her because I don’t know what to expect from such a person and I worry about myself and I’m worried about my colleagues. I’m worried about everybody,” he said.
On Thursday evening an MF DNES reporter entered the restaurant disguised as a Muslim woman with a head scarf and was served without any problems.
Banning covered women is a foremost agenda item of the SPD who believe the Czech Republic is supporting jihad.
Okamura spoke out about the incident saying that he wouldn’t underestimate the risk of terrorist attack even at a bistro in Prague 8. He added that he is an advocate of a complete ban which extends to the niqab, burqa, and hijab.
A lawyer speaking to the media said that the sticker is a clear-cut case of discrimination.
It isn’t the first time a Czech dining establishment has faced backlash over its discriminatory customer policies. Last year, a pizzeria in Znojmo was fined for refusing to serve immigrants.
A protest is planned in Prague for Saturday, February 11, that aims to challenge “the global spread of Islamophobia, right-wing populism, corruption, racism, prejudice, xenophobia, bigotry, nationalism, and hate and fear rhetoric.”