Bachmann trial closely watched by Czechia
The founder of Germany's Pegida party Lutz Bachmann has been on trial since Tuesday in Dresden for fuelling hatred against refugees. The court case is being closely watched in the Czech Republic, where Martin Konvička, head of the Bloc Against Islam and an ally of Bachmann, will also soon go on trial.
Dresden trial an example for Czechia
The case in Dresden can serve as an example for the trial against Martin Konvička, leader of the far-right Czech movement Bloc Against Islam, the daily Právo notes:
“At the same time as Bachmann, the leader of the Czech Islamophobes posted a message on Facebook calling for the brutal liquidation of worshippers of the Koran with the words: 'When we win the elections, dear Muslims, we will grind you into meat and bone meal.' He also spoke of building concentration camps for refugees from Islamic countries. ... The Bachmann case is the first big trial against an anti-Islam activist since the refugee crisis began. German law is stricter than ours. And the German judiciary also works faster. That has an advantage: the records from Dresden should provide interesting study material for the judge in České Budějovice presiding over Konvička's case.”
Fight anti-Islamists in and out of court
It is a good thing that courts are dealing with hate tirades on the social networks but that can't replace political engagement with anti-Islam activists in Germany and the Czech Republic, the daily Hospodářské noviny argues:
“Some people may well ask whether everything that's written on the social media must be taken seriously, and whether the courts don't have better things to do than spend their time assessing the insults posted there. But in this conflict over free expression of opinion it should be remembered that the freedom of one party ends where it impinges on the freedom of another. ... However, one must not rely on courts banning Pegida or the Czech Bloc Against Islam from public debate. Only by engaging politically with these groups will we see who sympathises with them and who dissociates themselves from such movements.”