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One of Hungary's main Muslim organisations decried today what it said were "xenophobic" steps taken by an ultra-nationalist town mayor to preserve traditional Christian values and prevent immigration. Asothalom, close to the Serbian border, last week banned mosque construction, the use of a muezzin at prayer times and the wearing of clothes such as the niqab and the burkini. The Hungarian Islamic Community (MIK) said in a statement it was "shocked by the increasing xenophobia and serious Islamophobia in Hungary which has now peaked with the decree". The steps were taken to "protect the community and its traditions from any mass settlement from outside," said Mayor Laszlo Toroczkai, who is also a vice-president of the radical-right Jobbik party. Toroczkai gained prominence in 2015 when he filmed an action movie-style video at a fence on the Serbian border warning migrants not to enter Hungary.
Asothalom has few refugees. MIK, set up in 1990, is the oldest group representing Hungary's Muslim community, and is estimated to have 40,000 members.