April 13th, 2017

Top court annuls local rules restricting Muslim religious practices made by Jobbik deputy leader in Ásotthalom

The top court has ruled that local council regulations in Ásotthalom, in southern Hungary, that banned certain Muslim religious practices were unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court annulled the sections of the regulations banning muezzins operating in public areas, the ban on burkas and chadors and the ban of propaganda activities that present marriage in other ways than the bond between a man and a woman. The decision passed in priority handling on a proposal by the ombudsman was published on the court’s website. It said local councils cannot introduce regulations that directly influence or restrict basic rights. According to the constitution, rules affecting basic rights and obligations can only be introduced by law, it noted.

The mayor of Ásotthalom, László Toroczkai, who is also the deputy leader of the radical nationalist Jobbik party, also issued a local decree banning the building of mosques in the village near the Serbian border. The ombudsman for fundamental rights, László Székely, turned to the top court with a request that the decree be voided. The top court annulled the regulations introduced by the Ásotthalom local council with retroactive effect.

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