Slovakia’s parliament has passed a bill by a two-thirds majority, effectively barring Islam from gaining official status as a religion.
The former communist state has fiercely resisted European Union (EU) efforts to use quotas to forces member states to accept mainly Muslim new arrivals, welcomed to the continent by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The nation’s left-wing prime minister, Robert Fico, has repeatedly said Islam has no place in Slovakia.
The new bill requires a religion to have at least 50,000 members (up from 20,000) to qualify for state subsidies and to run its own schools, Reuters reports.
This will make it harder to register Islam. According to the latest census, the religion has just 2,000 followers in Slovakia and there are no recognised mosques.