Hungarians walk to overcome fears of Muslims

EPA/MARTON MAGOCSI

Muslim men seen from the hall as they are praying inside the Dar Al Salam mosque on the eve of the Muslims holy fasting month of Ramadan in Budapest, Hungary.

Hungarians walk to overcome fears of Muslims


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A popular way to learn about Budapest’s Muslim community – amid a strident anti-immigrant campaign by the government – is to walk.

Budapest-based tour operator Setamuhely (Budapest Walkshop) runs 30 different walks taking visitors around the city’s architectural and cultural sites and the Jewish and Muslim communities.

“I can say that this walk, ‘Muslims who live among us’, is the most popular tour,” Anna Lenard, who runs the business,” told the Reuters news agency.

“Most people have never met a Muslim in their life and this… together with what they hear every day in the media causes a lot of tension and stress in daily life. I think this is the main reason why people are coming now.”

Most of the people on the four-hour walk have a college degree, and two-thirds are women, she said.

Hungary’s Muslim community, estimated to number about 40,000, grew with the migration crisis of 2015, though most of them arrived earlier to study at Hungarian universities.

A typical group of around 30 people first goes to a small mosque hidden in an old apartment where Muslims come to pray at the time of the visit.

According to Reuters, other points on the tour can include Muslim food shops and Budapest’s largest mosque, located in a former office building.

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