Monday, June 7, 2010

Ostrava, Czech Republic : Impact of migration [Part 2] - Contribution of the Czech Team

Czech Republic



The Czech Republic is very attractive for investors, because it has lot of advantages. It is situated in Central Europe, and it has a long tradition of industry, a good quality educational system, political and economic stability and cheap labour compared with Western Europe. This all is a bunch of good reasons for foreign investors to come. Investors from abroad are the main reason for the rise of the economy and the reduction of unemployment, which is very important for the Czech Republic.

Primary migration (legal)

Economic migration
People have a lot of reasons for migration, like economic, political or personal reasons. Immigrants get to a labour market and they are contributing to economic changes by that.
Immigrants' impact
Individual trends of global international migration are affected by specific factors, which are generally known as "push" and "pull" factors. On this basis, international migration can be divided into two main streams: economic migration and political migration.
A labour migrant can be narrowly defined as a person who enters the country as a foreign labourer invited by the government or the future employer. It can also be a person who entered the country alone to find a job. Labour migration can be divided into different types according to the term – longer-term duties, seasonal work, cross-border business activities etc.

Impact of migration

In general, the impact of international migration on the country„s economy is most often evaluated by the effect of three areas:
1. economic growth
2. jobs and employment
3. reduction of wages
Economic migration = the arrival of immigrants always affects the economy of a country. The degree of the influence depends mostly on the length of stay of the migrant. Whether he settles down or goes back to the country he came from depends on the motives of his arrival, and if it was legal or not.
The emigration country – influence on the population, the unemployment can get lower, change in labour costs, pressure on wages
The immigration country – unemployment growth, lower salaries, immigration westward, original population moves to the west, changes in the job categories

Searching, brain drain, brain gain, brain exchange

BRAIN DRAIN – means the drain of intelligence, mostly professionals, for example computer experts are leaving the Czech Republic; disadvantage for the Czech Republic because the state paid for their education and studies
BRAIN GAIN – new investors and doctors are coming (there are lot of Japanese and Korean companies coming to the Czech Republic, and it follows the origin of new job opportunities, for example economists, managers, secretaries, interpreters, doctors, qualified workers from Czech)
This leads to a change of infrastructure:
1. Necessity of development of teaching foreign languages
2. Foundation of international schools (not only in Prague, but even in Ostrava and other cities) Spanish bilingual schools prepares Czech students who may then find a job in the Spanish labour market.
BRAIN EXCHANGE – gain and drain of brains in both ways (from and to), eg.: teachers are leaving the Czech Republic and foreign professionals are coming here – losses are balanced. These professionals got the education in their mother countries and the Czech Republic did not have to pay for their studies. Scientists are concentrated in the technologically and economically advanced countries, following researches and no one cares about their origins (production of new drugs, methods, devices, etc.)


Experts agree with the fact that legal immigration is generally more beneficial for a receiving country. How about the economic impact? The receiving country takes in mostly young, active, and often skilled or highly skilled workers, on whose training and professional development they did not spend any funds. This immigration workforce in the developed world is successfully introduced to society and fills gaps in the labour market.
There are mostly unattractive and underpaid jobs available, which are not interesting for most people. Businesses in a new or 'culturally new' area or service have jobs available for highly qualified works everywhere. Doubtlessly, an advantage of immigrants, among others, is the benefit of new approaches and thinking that force a change from stereotypical procedures. The arrival of investors (car industry, new job opportunities in economically weak areas)
Those who lose in the receiving countries are often lowest social layers, which are represented in many places by the immigrants who have come there earlier. It should also be noted that there are also mostly uneducated, socially and economically marginalized foreigners in the immigration countries, who have jobs only occasionally or not at all, and they live off social benefits.
The intensive employment of cheap labour may lead to a shrinkage of economy or even the collapse of industry in the country of origin (for example, the textile industry - the impact of Chinese goods and personnel; Glass - Czech Glass versus Foreign chains). The disadvantage of intensive immigration may be an excessive utilization of cheap labour. This, in conjunction with the suppression of investment in capital-demanding projects, to the development and application of progressive, science-and research-bound approaches, may lead to economic contraction in the future. The problem is illegal labour immigration and its impact.

Illegal migration
The Czech Republic loses on taxes and insurance but there is also a problem with undermining of the law system. The laws are breaking and that causes the necessity of Alien police which solves the problems with illegal immigrants. Illegal migration still remains a problem area, even after entry to European Union.
Disadvantages for the illegal immigrants
  • He might become a victim of organised crime
  • He might live under inhuman conditions
  • He gets low wages compared with the Czech workers
  • He does not have any insurance and work permission and visa
  • He does not have any support in laws
  • He might be used by sweaters
  • He is abused and he always pays for everything even if the employer is found guilty and he has to pay sanction
How to become an illegal worker
An employment agency (Czech or foreign) hires workers. The worker is brought to the Czech Republic. He is caught by organized crime gangs. They can be helped by Alien police. Who can offer a fair trial, law protection and can organize their return to the native country or the immigrant respecting the law can stay in the Czech Republic. He cannot be sent back if there is any armed conflict in their native country.
Advantages for the illegal immigrants
Despite bad experiences illegal immigrants are coming back because even under bad living conditions they earn more money than in their mother country.
Examples in the Czech Republic according to the Alien police:
Workers from Ukraine worked in Prague for 8 months in illegal way. They were arrested by the Alien police and they told them that during their stay they had not seen any sight, monuments and the city centre because they worked from the morning till the evening under the supervision of organized crime gangs. With 110 euro per month earned in the Czech Republic they can live in Ukraine for three months. Thanks to the Alien police they were escorted back and they saved their money. If they returned home on their own they would risk attacks by criminal gangs in Poland or Ukraine and they would lose their money. Despite of this terrible experience they are back in the Czech Republic now.

Czech Republic

Nowadays there are about 300,000 immigrants staying here, and most of the 170,000 immigrants with long-term visas over 90 days are typical economic immigrants. The current infrequent analysis shows that economic immigration helps speed up the engines of the economy, because it„s concentrated mostly in the major centres of economic development, like Prague and other big cities and highly urbanized locations, as well as in the selected developing industrial zones(e+g+: Mladá Boleslav)+ These areas are characterized by relatively low unemployment, so the effect of supplementing the market is more noticeable than the increasing competition and displacement of the original Czech workers.
Estimates of illegal immigrants working in the Czech Republic are today from about 50,000 to 300,000. Through the doubtless generally negative impact of illegal working immigrants, it is obvious that the Czech economy absorbed many workers, and that they have appropriated some sectors of economy (e.g.: building industries, forestry, textile or food-processing industry, selected services), which can be hard to fill with the home Czech labour (relatively generous social net demotivates them to take the badly paid jobs).

Uninsured foreigners
People without health insurance are supposed to pay for medical care in cash. Medics and the others working in the heath service face the fact that these patients don„t have enough money to pay for the care and the medical facilities have debts because of that. The problem is that the uninsured patients delay the medical care and they come to the doctor in an urgent stage of disease.
There are even foreigners from EU, who are currently uninsured. This situation comes when a citizen logs out from the health insurance in his mother country because of long-term work and stay in another state of FU, that means in the Czech Republic, but he„s not insured in.

Negative impact of migration in the Czech Republic
People from Ukraine, who were chased off by the bad conditions for living, come to the Czech Republic in search of a better life, unfortunately, they are not given. Most of them are doing very hard and exhausting manual work, which is not paid well. Migration to the Czech is advantageous for the Ukrainians because of favourable labour conditions; they get jobs as bricklayers, workers, cleaners, manual labour.
The wages are getting low with the rising number of employed people in the Czech Republic, and this means that a Czech worker moves westward and he„s replaced with an Ukrainian.
The current infrequent analysis shows, that the economic immigration helps racing engines of the economy, because it„s concentrated mostly in the major poles of the economic development, like Prague and other big cities and highly urbanized locations, as well as in the selected developing industrial zones. And these areas are characterized by relatively low unemployment, so the effect of supplementing the market is more noticeable than the increasing competition and displacing the original Czech workers.

Special thanks to Policie ČR, cizinecké oddělení Ostrava:
npor. Bc. Zdeněk Heriban - zástupce vedoucího ICP Ostrava; nprap. Bc. Miroslav Raček; por. Mgr. Daniela Vlčková komisařka preventivně informační skupiny ObŘ SCP, Ostrava; ppor. Bc. Lumír Klementa, Vedoucí Skupiny povolování pobytu Ostrava



In our research we decided to arrange interviews with some of the immigrants living in Ostrava, Czech Republic. The aim of our work was to provide the foreignersã impressions of their new life in our country and convey their personal experience.
Our first interviewee was Stacy Anderson, an American citizen+ The second one was José Antonio Rojo Gutieréz, a Spanish teacher in our school. And the third one was Tomáš Grohregin, a Slovak immigrant who decided to study and work in the Czech Republic.
This is a transcript of our interviews.

Stacy Anderson

1. Could you tell us something about yourself?
My name is Stacey, I am an American and I am from California originally and ehm I have lived in California my entire life and work here in an organization called the Young life, which is an international organization, ehm and my husband and I started the young life here in Ostrava 5 years ago.
2. Why did you come to the Czech Republic?
We came to the Czech Republic 6 years ago in order to help get young life started here in Ostrava and ehm we felt a desire to work with teenagers in Europe and so that is why I decided to come to Ostrava for that.
3. Why did you decide to stay in the end or would you like to move anywhere else?
We really enjoy here in Ostrava, ehm, I think after learning Czech I think I would like to stay in Czech ehm I wouldn't like to move anywhere else and I think that after building friendships and relationships with people here it started to feel more and more like home so we enjoy the work we are doing.
4. What do you like on living in the Czech Republic and what do you miss here?
I like many things about life in the Czech Republic, I like public transportation which we sometime don't have very much of in California ehm I like the different seasons so I can go skiing in the winter and the warm summers and ehm I like the style of life and an importance of family, community here, I think that living here I miss my family and friends in America and I miss Mexican food.
5. Do you have a Czech citizenship?
No, I do not have a Czech citizenship ehm but I have a long term residency permit here.
6. Can you tell us something about your job for the young life organization and what would you do?
The young life is an international organization that works with teenagers around the world and it's an Christian organization of the leaders are Christian on it but we do activities with students in high schools ehm activities for free time camps, English camps here in the Czech Republic specifically and ehm just getting to know teenagers and build relationships with them.
7. Do you think its positive for young people to meet foreigners or to travel to another countries?
I think its positive for people to meet foreigners ehm and I think that I know my experiences travelling expended my understanding of the world and gave me a bigger picture of life and different cultures and different people and also it's great to learn other languages and to teach about other cultures so I know it was important for me and i think its probably important for teenagers everywhere.

José Antonio Rojo Gutieréz

1. Could you introduce yourself ?
Well… my name is José Antonio Rojo and i am a teacher at secondary grammar school Hladnov. I've been her for 5 years and I teach Spanish literature. I've come to Ostrava and stayed here, before I lived in Slovakia for 5 years, and I speak a little Czech and Slovak… that's all i would say.
2.What made you to come to the Czech Republic ?
Well… I don't know. It was a great job opportunity, and it was an interesting job, more interesting than in Spain, because education here is better than in Spain, and I think teachers are better too. And I also like to live abroad, I've lived in Italia, Slovakia and Czech, I just like living out of Spain.
3. Why did you decide to stay here? Would you like to move to another country?
I would stay in any middle European country, like Czech, Slovakia, Poland, where I would have a job opportunity. And here… I like people here, the culture is interesting, a lot of concerts, theatre, and beer, I like beer, and women… But I would like to like to live in other countries, for example Italy, because I lived there and I liked it, so I would maybe go back in the future..
4. What do you like in the Czech Republic and what do you miss here?
Lots of Spanish people think that life in the Czech Republic is similar to life in Russia; they even think that Czechoslovakia still exists. I like the life here – it is very quiet, the cities are beautiful and there are lots of possibilities for travelling, you can go to many places among Europe, lots of cities, like Vienna, and more than I really like that... but it has been more than 11 years since I lived in Spain, so I don't really miss it.
5. How many students do you teach?
I'm teaching two grades, its first time I have a graduation grade, and I teach them literature and also geography. And I have a theatre group; last time my students performed was two days ago, we performed the play 'Bernada and her daughters'.
6. Do you think it's positive when a teacher is a native speaker?
Yeah, I think it‟s positive for students and also for Czech teachers, because teachers who speak Spanish have to speak it all the time and same for students, because Spanish are really bad at talking foreign languages, they are really bad at Czech, so it's good, because students have to talk Spanish from their first grades.

Tomáš Grohregin

1. Can you tell us something about yourself?
Well… my name is Tomáš Grohregin, I come from Slovakia, I'm 28 years old and I studied in Ostrava and I live in Ostrava right now.
2. What made you come to the Czech republic?
I came in 2000 from Slovakia to study here; I've been in Ostrava for 10 years.
3. What school did you study at and why did you decide not to study in Slovakia?
I studied Faculty of Arts, Fnglish and German, which was actually for teachers…, and at that time, when I was picking up a college… before, i studied in Košice in Slovakia in 1999 but I had to leave and there was kind of a campaign for Slovakian students to go to Czech schools and Czech students to Slovakian ones.
4. What do you do now?
Right now I work for Czech television as a redactor and dramaturgist.
5. I heard you do a programme „Looking for a job“, so what and who is it good for?
Itãs for people who are looking for a job. It started back in 2004 when there was a big percent of unemployment in Czech. So the magazine which would give people information about how to write a CV, where to look for a job, which branch is lucrative etc. was needed.
6. Was there any foreigner participating in your programme?
There were some, because one of the themes we had was in cooperation with European Union, so we were showing how foreigners in Czech and Ostrava get jobs, and at the same time we were talking to Czechs who went to study… I mean work abroad+ So we found a lot of foreigners all over the Czech republic and we asked them how do they live, work here, if its hard, and why did they come at all, and we talked to Czech who work abroad.
7. And back to you… do you want to stay here for good?
Yeah, I would like to. I would stay in Ostrava.
8. Do you have a Czech citizenship?
Not yet, but I plan to get it.


Regarding the topic 'Social impact of migration' we cannot forget the religious minorities that participate on the social life in our country. We have chosen three religious groups that consist mainly of immigrant believers to demonstrate their cooperation with the native society and their relation with Czech citizens.
The three groups are Muslims, Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and Orthodox Christians. The first part of our work focuses on the services provided by these communities not only to their own believers, but also to the outer society. The second part deals with the problems these groups have to come across.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Mormons do not have their own chapel so they have to use substitute places for their prayer+ Mormon‟s substituted “chapels” are located in big cities all around the Czech Republic, for example Prague, Brno and Ostrava. There are about 100 believers on their prayer which is on every Sunday. In the Czech Republic this church is led by the local president of Mormons and 70 missioners. These missioners do their prayers in their free time so they have to have some job. They work for example as English teachers. The Church disposes with a huge programme to help people. They give away one billion crowns every year. They also helped to people who were impacted by the Tsunami wave in 2005.
Mormons organized one of the biggest and the oldest association of women which has 5 million members. This organization helps to poor people all around the world. This help is offered to all the people without any difference no matter what their religion is or what colour the skin has. Missioners are usually from the USA so they teach us how to speak English for free.

Orthodox Church

There are lot of religious communities in the Czech Republic which exudes edification they also offer church services. There are many libraries with their religious literature which you can borrow for free. They have their own magazine called 'Ikona' which informs you about actualities from their church. Many immigrants come from Ukraine to work in the Czech Republic because of bad working conditions in their country also they earn more money here. But if they emigrate they have to live somewhere, eat something and the most important thing for them, they have to find a job.
The Orthodox Church can offer every kind of these things for them. If some immigrant comes to the Czech Republic and he has no place to live he can stay in the church until he finds some better place to live. They also have a language problem so the church can help them with it. They find a job for them and they help them improve their Czech language.

There are 2 foundations in the Czech Republic, which are situated in Prague and Brno. Their main purpose is to help Muslims in the Czech Republic. They keep the mosques open for the believers or visitors, they organized Friday church services in 3 languages (Czech, English and Arabic), they prepare the programme for Muslims festivals, teach Arabic language and conduct library with Arabic literature.

Their edification activity offers information about Islam and represents Muslims community for the public. They have also charitable activity, which collects money from believers and they finance working of the mosques, help for poor families or finance hard difficult surgeon operations. They establish chapels and refugee camps, where they can buy basic things for the people, as a food, fresh water, and medicaments. They cooperate with the prisons, too. They send some letters or bulletins about Islam to prisoners and communicate with the principal of the prison about better food for Muslims prisoner.
There is also a little prayer hall in one of the Prague‟s prison. In the Czech Republic live about 11,000 Muslims, who need their own companies with food and clothes. There is not any problem in the Czech Republic with it, because there are lots of restaurants, fast foods and markets with halal food. Halal food is a meal, which is allowed to eat in Islam. Their assortment is according to Muslims festivals. There is a clothes shop for Muslims, too. Muslims community also has their own newspapers, but only in the internet. Muslims foundation constituted many other helpful things for their believers. For example High Health school in Prague.
Our conclusion was didactic, because we detected lots of important information. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has one of the most important and generous charity in the Czech Republic, because they collected one of the most amount of money. Orthodox Church is very similar with our Catholic Church and there are not any big problems with this church. And Muslims in the Czech Republic are for the most part trouble-free in comparison to other European countries. All of these churches are helpful for us, because they can offer lots of knowledge and can help us with some questions about our life. We wish, the Czech Republic could be opener to these communities.



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There are not as many Muslims as in the states of the Western Europe in the Czech Republic. Among Muslims are mainly immigrants from the Middle East, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, but also from Afghanistan, refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina or people from the former Soviet Union, but also converts.
According to a research of the Ministry of Interior there were 11 235 Muslims in the year 2007, more than two thirds come from the Turkish and Arabic Sunnite's stem. Economically speaking, most of the Muslims get on well, because they are often very well-educated persons like architects, economists, doctors, businessmen or teachers, but there are also underprivileged people among Muslims. Concerning belief, they do not trade it off, but some Muslims deduct of Islamic principles or they try to hide their belief because of job or fear of racism.
The snag is that Czech inhabitants do not know very much about Muslims and they think that Muslims try to diversify from the majority culture and centralize to terrorism and conflicts. Muslims would be pleased if positive image was extended about them and the awareness was more objective.
Problems of Islamic centres
The head office of Muslim religious centres was originated in the year 2001. There were problems with a registration of Islam in the Czech Republic for a long time, because there were conditions that the association has to be registered at least for ten years and it has to identify itself by ten thousands of signatures of believers. Muslims apply for an exception, because Islam is the second-largest religion and they have an old tradition. In the end their requirements were realized in the year 2004, but only for a case of Muslim village like a corporation without any further laws and chances to activity.
Mosques are used for a grave congregation of Muslims. The first mosque was opened in the year 1998 in our country in Brno, although the application for building was already handed up in the year 1995. People did not agree with building of the mosque, but finally the town hall gave its permission, because Muslims came up with the suggestion of the mosque without a minaret and a cupola.
Nowadays the mosque is already too small, that is why hundreds of Muslims of Brno would wish to have a new mosque, but much bigger and with a minaret, while the primary mosque would serve as a cultural centre. But again, people do not agree and some politicians are against it, too.

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Muslims do not get down to discussion meanwhile and we hear about them only in context of adulteration of the mosque as throwing of stones into the mosque, spraying it or sticking caricatures of Mohammed around the city. In the year 1999 a mosque was opened in Prague. This mosque was adulterated recently, because an unknown vandal scrawled over the entrance with abusive signs and also hung a pig head there.
Muslims also wished to build a mosque in Teplice, because there are spas, which are visited by many people from Arabic countries. They tried to obtain a licence in the year 1995 for the first time, but they came across a protest of the local church and beyond it should have stood on the parcel of the town; that is why building licence was not issued.
They tried it in the year 2004 for the second time when the mosque should have stood on the land on the edge of the Manor Park which was purchased by an investor. In this case important role was played by media who warned the local citizens about building of the mosque. The citizens did not agree with the building-up, it was also refused by the councillors, although they had agreed first, therefore the investor cancelled his plans at last.
A similar project was supposed to be realized in Orlová where the investor wanted to build up a mosque along with some other religious buildings, because there are recorded visitors from Muslim countries in Spas Darkov, too, but the investment for 200 million crowns was not accepted by the town hall, because there were negative attitudes of the public again, and beyond it was also considered to be disadvantageous. Muslims also meet in private or rented spaces, which are used as prayer halls.
General hate against Muslims is on the part of extremist group, which do not agree not only with religious minorities, but minorities at all. They demonstrate and criticise that they extend their culture and religion, feed on by criminality, rob our country, reduce to our standard of living, worth of our life sinks, culture, religion and mainly that our nation loses identity. As for the inhabitants, they are afraid of Islam, even 60%, terroristic attack, war and it may be cause because of base ignorance about Islam.

It is separated and independent church. There are 100 000 orthodox Christians. They are people from Eastern Europe (mainly workers), a lot of tourists and short-time residing foreigners. There are more tourists then Czech orthodox Christians. The emigration causes an increase permanent population.

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The Orthodox Church was financed from financial collection indicated by N. Pisarevský, Serbian and Russian spa guests in 1898. The Orthodox Church was reconstructed in the second half of the twentieth century. The Orthodox Church did not have any serious problem with this church.
The Orthodox Christian had minimum problems in the Czech Republic. Only after Velvet revolution they had to give back a lot of churches and buildings. They have respect of the public because of resistance to Nazism. Till nowadays it is rather the church of foreigners.
At the beginning they had more problems with oratory. They had not there any oratory therefore they had to borrow different rooms. There is not any Temple in the Czech Republic. The immediate Temple for Mormons which lives in the Czech Republic is in Germany (Freiberg). And there could come only people from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are only a few oratories (Hradec Králové, Ostrava, etc.)
They study the language in their country. When Mormons come to the Czech Republic they can speak Czech. But they still have some problems at the beginning of their mission. After the mission they are supported to study and base a family. Nowadays there live about 70 Mormons which are in permanent mission.


We have prepared a poll for the residents of our city to find out what they think of the immigration and immigrants living in our country. We have divided the questioned people into three age categories: 1-25, 26-50 and 50 and more.
The first part of the questions focused on their opinions on immigrants generally. We asked them about their opinions of the influence on immigration and the cultural and religious variability in our country. While majority said that they believe immigration can be a benefit to the society, they have the right to keep their traditions and practise their religion. As a paradox, the question about the benefits of religious variability in our country gave an opposite result.
The second part was meant to discover the prejudices about religions that are not domestic in our country. To be able to compare the balance, we asked them whether they would accept a believer of a different religion as a neighbour and as a family member. When asked about the Orthodox Christian, the majority said yes. While in the case of a Muslim, the majority said no. The last question was whether they would agree with building an orthodox church and a mosque. Although in both cases there were more people who would agree, the mosque case was rather balanced.

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We fear people whom we don't know. We believe they have features that actually do not have, and they're doing things never done before. It's because we're afraid of the foreign and unknown. Such fear is called xenophobia. The roots of this phenomenon go to the times before the year 1989. Until then the Czech population that had the same culture, religion and tradition, because only few foreigners lived there. They were coming to us, though, now and then. They were war refugees (Serbs, Albanians), students from Africa and developing countries. All those people at that time had to assimilate, it means adapt to our culture and customs. After the Velvet Revolution everything changed. The borders opened, the foreigners began to work and study with us, people started to settle here permanently. And they brought different customs, culture and religion with them and some of them also had a different colour of complexion. In certain groups of our society distrust, disgust and fear began to develop towards foreigners+ Foreigners couldn‟t speak Czech well, the language barrier emerged. The fear started to grow that foreigners will take over our work, there will be more criminality, drug dealers and incurred various gangs and mafia. Therefore, some people began to organize themselves and began to show their opposition to everything foreign. Similar groups have been here before, but they were mainly against the Roma people, for example the skinhead movement. Other extremist groups also emerged, aimed against immigrants and people with different colour of complexion. They organized various meetings, marches, shouting various hatred slogans, for example, "Nothing but the nation" and committed to violence. Municipalities attempted to ban these violent actions, but the situation didn‟t improve and even today is not improving+ Another extremist party are Neo-Nazis who at his rallies are used Nazi symbols and gestures. The contemporary society is divided into two groups. One group recognizes that the world has many cultures that are mixed with each other. Thanks to the media, people learn more about the world, young people travel a lot and learn about other cultures, study abroad and become more tolerant. The second group wants to take anything foreign, and remains conservative and intolerant.

B. Islamophobia

We can explain Islamophobia as a prejudice, apprehension or hatred against Islam and Muslims. In the Czech Republic we have Islamophobia, too. There are people who do not care about Islam but there are also people who disapprove Islam in the Czech Republic. The question is: Why Islamophobia?
Why the people hate Islam?
Some of them are scared of Islam because it is something new and what is new can be dangerous. Others are afraid of terrorist attack, intolerance towards other religions, oppression of women etc. These opinions lead to the growth of Islamophobia.
The main reasons of Islamophobia:
Hatred of Islam is clear from prejudices. This prejudices flowing from ignorance of Islam. Most people associate Islam with extremism and terrorists attack. The main terrorist attack which leads to this argument is the terrorist attack on the USA in 11 September 2001 when two planes crashed into the World Trade Centre and destroy everything around. Planes were hijacked by an Islamist organization al-Qaida.

Islamophobia in the Czech Republic:

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Islam in Czech Republic isn‟t much represented compared to western countries. Most of the Muslims in Czech are immigrants. In 1934 the first Muslims organization in Czech Republic initiated, but it wasn‟t allowed+ In 1991 the Centre of Muslim religious communities was founded. In 1989 was built the first mosque and one year after was built in Prague. Here Islamophobia began to develop in Czech Republic. People started with protests and demonstrations against building new mosques or with creating websites, groups on Facebook. Also people make leaflets with caricatures of Muslims.

Examples of Islamophobia in the Czech Republic:
The main manifestation was a refuse of a mosque in Teplice. The Muslim community wanted to build a mosque, but in the end the project was stopped by resistance of residents, because they believed that project would be dangerous and they were afraid of terrorism, but in that time we already had two mosques. Before building these two mosques there were petitions and protests, too, but in the end there weren‟t any problem with the Muslims. People make bad conclusions about Islam because of fear.
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On the Internet, we often encounter with web sites against Islam and Muslims. On Facebook people establish groups like 'We don’t want Islam in Czech Republic'. People in this group lead discussion, arrange on demonstrations and protest, give photos and videos there. Of course there are also sites like 'Islam is not an enemy'. In this group there are mainly Muslims from the Czech Republic who want to show the real face of Islam.

Other attack was on the mosque in Prague. Somebody hung a pig’s head on the fence at the mosque. Then there were defamatory words against Muslims. Probably should be a racist attack on the immigrants, but the perpetrators don’t know that most of the visitors of the mosque are the Czechs Muslims. A similar attack was on the mosque in Brno. Perpetrators sprayed anti-Muslim words on the wall of the mosque.

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It is clear that Islamophobia will probably never go away. There will be still individuals, who don‟t tolerate Muslims. Other people who know nothing about Islam and have prejudices should begin to get informed how it really is. Even Muslims in the Czech Republic make lectures for citizens and students. We can say that islamofobia in the Czech Republic doesn‟t start from a reason that Muslims do something to us, but only from fear and experience of other countries.

C. Extremist Groups in our country focused on immigrants

The most important displays of extremism against immigrants are xenophobia, racism and also fascism and Nazism. Xenophobia is largely known as fear of foreigners. This term can be also understood as intolerance of other people and their culture. Racism is hatred of people of different race. Fascism and Nazism are national chauvinistic and racist movements and their ideas are specialized against people of other race, culture, religion or mind.
In the Czech Republic are different groups that are against immigrants. The groups protest largely against amalgamation, immigrations and also have a negative relation in face of a minority sexual orientation.

Some of the extremist groups in the Czech Republic

  • Skinhead is group that promotes racism and fascism and embraces a certain lifestyle. Main reason why the group originated is people who searched butters and recognition.
  • Bohemia hammer skins(B.H.S.)
  • Blood and Honour (BaH)
  • White Aryan resistance(W.A.R.) It is also important to mention the National Party fighting against immigrants. On the other hand, there is also Antifa – an organization that arranges several antifascist actions, marches and processes same as already mentioned groups.
Participants of the extremist groups march through the streets with banners or posters, shout out some racist texts, destroy environment, induce fights, often use lampoons (handout with short offensive text) and arrange meetings and concerts. They also and found some internet websites and blogs where they promote their organizations and get new members, e.g.:

- - the official aspect of autonomous nationalists
o - Religious extremism and opposition against mosques and religious Islam
o - IMIGRANTI Georgien
o - Balgari Imigranti
o - „Immigrants“
o - Not immigrants in the Czech Republic

Example of displays of extremism on foreign students:
Three young boys attacked on the station in the Zlin on foreign student. Police decided that it was racially motivated attack and evoked very serious injuries. The boys committed criminal offense and were sentenced for five years.

D. Political groups
Worker's Party

Worker's Party is a political party described as the major right wing extremist party in CZ. They fight against minorities and immigrants in The Czech Republic.
The election program of Worker's party is mainly focused on expulsion of imigrants and prefer nation over minority. The participants of Worker's party say that minority was not under pressure but majority was under pressure. Their arguments are mainly focused against Romanians and against other immigrants. This idea is listed in their political program – People without Czech nationality will be excluded from all of government support and grants (focused mainly on immigrants from former Soviet Union, Asia, Balkan and Far East). They require cancellation of immigrants camps; the political asylum or residential permit can be granted only to a person who meets moral qualities and expertly knowledge.
Worker's Party defend their ideas mainly by hinting about problems with Romanians in some places in the Czech Republic and hyperbolising this problem. One of another arguments is idea that immigrants takes job from Czech inhabitants.

Marches and demonstrations
Worker's Party focus their demonstrations mainly against Romanians as in a demonstration on 17 November in Litvínov+
On 17th of November proceeded demonstration against Romanians in Litvínov. Participants of Worker's Party set out for streets of Litvínov and shouted mottos like „Czechs for Czechs!“ or „Nothing but nation!“ Someone else criticised government and said that people of Czech have to learn how to live with Romanians instead of Romanians learn how to live with Czechs. Against the march interfered the police. Then the biggest battle proceeded between radicals and the police in The Czech Republic since 2000. There were about 16 injured people.

Interconnexion with another extremist groups and cancellation of the Worker's Party
Worker's Party collaborate with other extremist groups like National Party, Independent nationalists or National Opposition. All of these institutions fight against minorities.
Worker's Party was dissolved on 17th February 2010 because of the political election of Worker's Party that headed toward racism, ethnic intolerance and social intolerance and in consequence towards restriction of privileges and liberty of some minorities. The party laid a complaint to the constitutional court. Leader of the Worker's Party - Tomáš Vandas - said that Worker's Party will stand for election under a heading of another political party.
Most of people agree with the cancellation of the Worker's Party. They think that this party canãt solve problems with Romanians or other immigrants. The Worker's Party wants to solve these problems in a really forcible way. Another group of people thinks that cancellation of the Worker's Party resists democracy, but on the other hand they agree with cancellation because of the opinions of the Worker's Party.

National Party

The election programme of the National Party is based on xenophobia (opposition, enmity and fear of everything strange) and Islamophobia (enmity and fear of Islam).
Pre-elect promotion of NP
The National Party used for self promotion before elections in 2009 one of the most inconsistent and racist advert. It contained racist pictures of Romanians and immigrants as metaphorical black and white sheep (white sheep kicks the black sheep out of Czech Republic).
Television transmitted this promotion only once. Then the authorities decided that this promotion isnãt suitable by law and put it out from the broadcast+ They file an action on a member of the National Party. He was charged of defamation of nation, ethnical group, race and limitation of justice and liberty.
Actions of NP
Members of National Party have fixed a stone that has to be a 'war memorial' in place of a former concentration camp. This action evoked worsted of protests.
Another action was realized in Brno on 11th May 2009. Some people - probably members of National party posted up posters focused against Koran in the surrounding of Brno's mosque. National party didn't say that these posters posted up someone from their members but endorsed this action. The National Party also placed on their web film Fitna by Geert Wilders (Dutch right-wing politician) focused against Islam. This film was banned in Holland but Czech police didn't find this film illegal. Fitna evoked many inconsistent reactions.
Many people have the same opinion on the National Party as on the Worker's Party. Some think that the National Party can solve the problems with Romanians but they know these opinions are rather radical.


We did survey about extremism between several students. We wrote down their answers into following charts.

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Most people know about manifestations of extremism from TV or from hearing, but they didnãt have personal experience.

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The reason why people agree with some opinions of the Workerãs Party is solution problems about abuse of social benefits by the Roma people. People who say no to opinions of the WP think that election program of this party is too extremists and they think that the problem with social benefit can be solved by another political parties without extremists opinions.

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Most people donãt agree with abolition WP because they either agree with some opinions or think that abolition of any party is nondemocratic and or in advance they know that WP will conduct under a different name. People who agree with the abolition of WP consider their opinions as bad and stupid.


The view by minorities on this problem

In this paper we discuss the relationship between our society and the minorities. At the first point we look at how our state deals with the immigrants. Basically there are three types of the state politics toward immigrants:
  • The idea of assimilation: the maximum involvement of the minorities to the majority without the sight of different cultures, different habits and different languages
  • The idea of integration (or multiculturalism): the maximum involvement of the minority to the majority with the sight of different culture, different habits and different languages
  • The idea of exclusion (or segregation): the total isolation of the minority from majority and the minimum of communication between them
In the past, the politics preferred extremes but today they prefer multiculturalism. The Czech Republic is active with dealing with the migration. Our country respects international agreements and forces through bills which protect the minorities. For example: Act No. 273/2001 Coll., On the Rights of National Minorities called Act on Minorities, or European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
In the Czech Republic, according to the law, we recognize national minorities and immigrants. The member of national minority is the citizen of the Czech Republic but he differs from other citizens by his ethnic origin, language and culture. We have 12 official national minorities e.g. Slovaks, Poles, Russians and Roma. Members of a national minority have many special rights. They have right of active participation in cultural, social and economic life and public affairs, right to be represented by the Council for National Minorities, right of multilingual names and denominations, of using their language in official documentation, of education in their language, of maintain their own culture, of receiving and dissemination information from medias in their language+ Immigrant doesn‟t have Czech citizenship but he lives on territory of the Czech Republic and participates in public life, he has to have residence permit and he is subject to Czech laws.
At the second point we look at how the society looks at the minorities. According to the researches, about 85% of the habitants of the Czech Republic have negative thinking towards foreign nations+ The Czechs don‟t acknowledge all of the positives the minorities have on the Czech land. They make big differences between separated groups of immigrants from different countries. They recognize at least two types:
  • Cheap labour force, raise of criminality and the fear of terrorism
  • Raise of economics, more work positions thanks to foreign investors
The problem of the Czech society is the want of assimilation while these minorities prefer integration+ The main reason of the society‟s thinking about minorities is the media which influence negative people through television, radio, newspapers, and internet.
In the third part we will look at involvement to the society from the minority‟s point of view. The minorities have different strategies of involvement to the society. We recognized three of them. The first we called the strategy of assimilation, the second strategy of multiculturalism, and the third strategy of segregation. The first strategy means that these minorities are very hard to differ from majority, because they were able and they wanted to accept completely the culture, habits and language of the majority. The second one is the strategy when minorities want to maintain their own culture, habits and language but at the other side they want to be fully integrated to the society. The last strategy is connected to the minorities refusing assimilation, integration and creating their own independent units.
In the Czech Republic there are 12 national minorities. We will speak about 3 of them. These 3 are the biggest and they differ by strategy of involvement to the society.

Slovak minority
Slovak minority is the biggest in the Czech Republic, according to last population census there are about 193000 members of the Slovak community. Majority of them lives in the Moravian – Silesian region and the Usti region, but they are dispersed all over the Czech Republic. They are living on the territory of our country traditionally, for a long time, but nowadays still many new Slovaks come to the Czech Republic, because they find here more liberal atmosphere and more job opportunities. Many of them are on high ranking positions, for example our minister of transport is Slovak.
In the case of Slovaks we can speak about full assimilation into our society. Slovaks are not foreign for us, because of the same history; in past we formed one state called Czechoslovakia which had only one nation called Czechoslovaks, and two languages Czech and Slovak. However they push for keeping their culture and habits, for example organizing of Slovak-Czech festivals, theatre-meetings, expositions etc.
Slovak people are so closely connected with Czech people that they do not mind absence of using their language in many branches of public life. When they are in family or between friends they use Slovak, but they have no problem to use Czech while speaking with Czechs. At the other side Czechs do not have a problem to understand Slovak. Slovaks do not have bilingual schools but there was one in Karviná which was closed because of no interest. They do not ask for bilingual denominations of streets, cities, offices. The press in Slovak is very rare, but there are some magazines and newspapers published in Prague e+g+ “Slovenské listy“ (Slovak papers),“Eotyky“ (Touches) and ”Korene” (Roots).Czech Television and Czech Radio do not broadcast programs in Slovak but they try to change it e.g. Czech-Slovak idol( music competition).

Polish minority
The Polish minority living in the Czech Republic incorporates well into our society but it kept its habits, traditions, language and culture. This minority has multicultural strategy of involvement to the society. Poles live along the Czech-Polish border. The last population census says that in the Czech Republic live about 50 000 Polish people. The biggest density of polish people is in Tesin Silesia region (Karviná and Frýdek-Místek districts in particular). The specific traits are their business flexibility and their strong catholic religion.The Polish minority in our country is represented by Polish Cultural and Educational Union (PZKO) together with the Congress of Poles.
In the areas of the highest density of Polish minority there are bilingual denominations of towns, cities, streets, offices, stations and shops. In the cities and municipalities are Polish kindergartens, elementary and high schools. The Czech radio Ostrava and The Czech television broadcasts programs in Polish. They have their own press called 'Glos ludu' or magazine 'Nasza gazetka'. There is one particularity: the Tesin theatre has many performances in Polish because there are two ensembles: Czech and Polish, plays are presented in both the Czech and Polish languages. Also some of the books are published in Polish.
Our common life is without serious issues because of similar language, culture and history but at the other side the Polish minority sometimes feels discriminated. It is the case of studying on the Czech universities or the case of using their language in official documentation. The problem is also Act on minorities, mainly the possibility to have bilingual denominations: some Czechs donãt accept this and they destroy tables with polish names of streets, institutions, shops. But there are many positives of living together with Polish minority in one region. Bilingual region brings many business possibilities and it is very attractive for the tourists. Tesin Silesia is the only bilingual region in the Czech Republic.

Roma minority
Roma people are an example of exclusion or segregation of the minority from the majority. The Roma community is the second biggest in the Czech Republic. But we can hardly count them. The official numbers are different from the reality. Officially there is 11 716 citizens in the Czech Republic who declare their nationality as Roma. But the representatives of some of the Roma organizations estimate their number about 200 - 250 000 members of the Roma community. Their population still grows.
The Roma national minority has its representatives in the Government Council for National Minorities. The Government wants to overcome their social exclusion. There are many of Roma organizations registered. Most of the Roma civic associations focus on the work with the children and youth, there are many programs supporting Roma integration in education. The Government wants to teach Roma language at schools to make better knowledge about the Roma culture.
Roma have access to public television and radio: e.g. the regular Friday Roma radio programme 'O Roma vakeren – Roma Talking' on Czech Radio. Czech Television broadcasts occasional programmes about Roma or for Roma. There is also the internet radio station Rota International. Roma press in the Czech Republic is represented by the newspapers 'Romano hangos' (Roma voice) 'Romano voďi' (Roma Spirit) and 'Kereka' (Circle) etc.
Social exclusion is one of the biggest problems for the Roma community in the Czech Republic. Their exclusion manifests in increasing criminality, unemployment and prostitution. Roma fall into debt and they are dependent on social benefits.
Another problem is the segregation of the Roma population in ghettos of larger cities. The existence of these ghettos has negative consequences for actual residents (higher degree of isolation and social exclusion, crime, aggression) and for other citizens living, working or just temporarily present in its neighbourhood (risks of crime, noise and smell, hygiene and health risks).

The bilingual designations in Český Těšín (Tesin-Silesia region)

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