MPs explore Islamic Center for collaboration opportunities

Latvian MPs from the Citizenship and Migration Affairs Committee paid a visit to the Islamic Culture Center on Wednesday after loud announcements from Roberts Klimovičs, a representative to the center, who had told Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze daily that Latvia will become a Muslim country after 50 years, Latvian Television reported Wednesday.

MPs asked questions for an hour about the work of the center and whether they could become intermediaries between asylum seekers and the rest of the Latvian society. 

The Islamic Culture Center stressed that practicing Muslims will not be aggressive.

"If people who want to shoot guns as the media has created an impression that if you want to run around with a gun, you just have to adopt Islam and you'll be sent somewhere where you're paid to shoot people, they'll quickly realize here is not the place [where it happens]," said Roberts Klimovičs.

However, the opinions voiced by representatives of the center have been seen as controversial. Though Klimovičs didn't step down from what he said about Latvia becoming a Muslim country within 50 years.

"Media can turn it any way the want, but after 50 years, using democratic means, the majority of Latvians will elect a parliament that supports Sharia law. And we are moving towards that, without any violence or anything. We are just growing our families. It has to be accepted that if Latvians want it to be different, Latvians have to create stronger families with more children," said Klimovičs.

Lebanese-born Saeima MP Hosan Abu Meri who moved to Latvia 20 years ago, told Latvian Television that "If we start talking, scaring the society with Sharia - 50 years and everyone will be Muslim ,- it is wrong and unacceptable. And as a representative of the Arabic Culture Center I would like to say that Arabs in Latvia - including Christians and Muslims - are normal, believing people. Today I think that their [Islamic Culture Center's] way of communication should be changed. [..]," said Abu Meri.

While the head of the Citizenship and Migration Affairs Committee said that they have to get acquainted with all of the organizations that can be a bridge to people from another culture. "There are not many such organizations. This is one of these. I think we shouldn't exaggerate - they cannot take too many people and help them settle down, but [they can] definitely help other people, and it's a lot already," said Latkovskis.

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