Hungary Bans Conference by U.S. Group It Calls ‘Racist’

Margit Feher, Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2014

Hungary banned a conference scheduled for later this week of the U.S.-based National Policy Institute, saying it considers the organization extremist and racist.

Interior Minister Sandor Pinter on Monday ordered that the scheduled speakers of the conference may not enter the country or stay in Hungary. Mr. Pinter said he was acting on the instructions of Prime Minister Viktor Orban in ordering the chief of national police to use all legal means to prevent the event.

In response, NPI President Richard Spencer said, “I can only conclude that Viktor Orban and everyone attacking our conference fear what we have to say.”

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The Interior Ministry said that under Hungary’s constitution, exercising freedom of expression may not breach the human dignity of others or infringe on the dignity of the Hungarian nation or of any national, ethnic, racial or religious community.

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The NPI said it will persevere and won’t cancel the conference.

“It’s important to remember that neither Orban nor anyone else has accused us of actually breaking any laws, because we haven’t. To the contrary, it is the Hungarian government that might potentially break a law–in this case, one of its own,” NPI said on its website.

“It’s true that the government’s actions are going to make our meeting a little more inconvenient than it otherwise would be. But life is full of such challenges,” Mr. Spencer said.

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The original list of speakers also included Marton Gyongyosi, a prominent member of the Hungarian far-right Jobbik party, which got more than 20% of the vote in general elections earlier this year and is the third-largest party in the Hungarian Parliament.

By Monday, Mr. Gyongyosi’s name had disappeared from the list of scheduled speakers.

“The conference date clashes with several election campaign events,” Mr. Gyongyosi said, referring to municipal elections Oct. 12. “Furthermore, I can hardly sympathize with the views of some of the speakers–namely those of the U.S. racists; I don’t share their ideologies at all.”

The venue, Larus Conference Center, where the conference was originally to be held, said it had cancelled its contract with the organizers and will be closed Oct. 4. {snip}

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