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Czech President speaks at anti-Islam rally - protest now

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Dear Ambassador Hradilek

I am writing to you and your Government to express our disappointment at the presence of President Miloš Zeman at an anti-Islam rally this afternoon.

President Zeman addressed a crowd waving 'Fuck Islam' and 'Ban Islam' flags. In attendance in the front row, and clearly guests of the organisers, was Stephen Lennon, the founder of the violent anti-Muslim street gang English Defence League, and the German leader of Pegida.

It is quite apparent from social media how President Zeman's involvement at the anti-Islam rally has given a boost to racists and far right extremists across the continent.

The President may want to express his opposition to Islamist extremism but addressing an anti-Islam rally is not only an error but it is counter-productive. At a time when the world is facing such a serious threat from ISIS/ISIL, fanning the flames of anti-Muslim hatred won't help.

Indeed, only last night on British TV, the former head of the Secret Service said: "ISIL will want to provoke hostility towards the refugees, will want to see the rise of the far right across Europe and they will want refugees to feel they are not welcome here so they will be more susceptible in time to recruitment by ISIL themselves".

We are living in very difficult and dangerous times. Sadly, the actions of President Zeman has just made it that little bit harder.

Nick Lowles