On the territory of the Czech Republic 5.1% of foreigners live in the total population, ie about half a million people from 161 countries. The largest group is the population of Slovakia, followed by Ukraine, Hungary, Germany, and Russia.
Some Czechs consider foreigners to be a security risk. This attitude has been on the rise in recent years, in the context of the migration crisis. Despite this, however, there is no ethnically tense situation in the Czech Republic. Czechs expect foreigners to assimilate them with the Czech environment. They think that foreigners should adapt as much as possible to our habits, they should be able to speak Czech and work in the territory of the Czech Republic. The Czechs have the greatest sympathy for the Slovaks (it is given by their longstanding cohabitation, common history, similarity of language, etc).
An important community in the Czech Republic is the Vietnamese. They are the third largest community, due to the migration that began in the 1950s. The presence of Vietnamese people is currently not as bad as it was in the past, but their popularity is on the rise. Vietnamese are a very closed community that does not allow you to look into their privacy, sticking to the observance of their traditions and customs. The change takes place in the young generation, which is very successful in incorporating into the Czech society and eliminating the linguistic and cultural barriers. This still remains with the older generation.
The most numerous ethnic minority in the Czech Republic are Roma. According to estimates from the year 2003, there are about 300 000 of them in our country. Roma have their native language, their customs and mentality are different from the majority society. They have lived in the territory of the Czech Republic since the 14th century and are currently the group most affected by social exclusion. As a result, there is a low level of education, high crime rates and unemployment. The cause of unemployment is also the inadequately set social system, which leads to the fact that for some people it is better to receive social benefits than to work. A large part of the Czech population is anti-Romani, which is caused, among other things, by problematic neighborly relations, noise and disorder, a completely different way of life of Roma people.
The Czech Republic is the most secularized within Europe and has the second lowest share of citizens reporting to any religion. In their history, Czech lands have experienced complex relationships with the Church. One of the most complicated periods was the second half of the 20th century, when the existing and functioning religion was suppressed by the Communist regime. After the fall of the regime in 1989, there was a rebirth, and religion once again became part of public life. But most of the population had great expectations about the new position of the Church in the life of society. However, since these expectations were not used by the churches, for example, in order to resolve restitution claims, internal cleansing from times of co-operation with the Communist regime, etc., a part of society has evaded from the church, and public significance of religion has fallen.
Under Act No. 308/91 Coll. a citizen of the Czech Republic can confess, practice and promote any religion. No one should be forced to profess any religion or be without religion.
At present, most citizens do not want church interventions in the political and economic life of the country. The work of the Church is seen in the charity. Most citizens are of the opinion that the churches should be financially separate and only a tiny fraction of the citizens believe that the churches should be financed by the state.
CENSUS DATA IN 2011
- Catholic faith 1 150 000 (about 11 % of the population)
- Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren 50 000
- The Church of the Czechoslovak Hussites 39 000
- Orthodox Church 27 000
- Jehovah’s Witnesses 13 000
- The Brotherhood of the Church 10 000
- Christian communities 10 000
- Judaism 15 000
- Persons proclaiming Islam 3 500
- People proclaiming Buddhism 6 000
Compared with previous years, the number of believers in the Czech Republic is the same today, but the number of people who identify with the great ecclesiastical institutions is declining. There is growing interest in small and alternative groups.
Christianity is the largest population in the Czech Republic. Geographically, most believers are in South Moravia, then in the South Bohemian region and in the southern part of Vysočina. The least believers are in the north of Bohemia. The largest percentage of believers is in small municipalities with up to 200 inhabitants. Fewer people report faith in cities with 50 000 to 100 000 inhabitants. There is a greater percentage of women among believers than men, and older people are predominant. Most female and male believers are in the 60-70 + age category. In the 40-year age category, the number of believers is 20%. In terms of education, most faithful people have a secondary vocational education, and the least faith is among university educated people.
About half a million people regularly visit services. However, most believers visit churches only on the occasion of a holiday (Easter, Christmas) or important life events (birth, marriage, death). Only 37% of couples are married in the church.
Churches are located in every village. Entry into these spaces is not only possible for believers, but can also be attended by non-believers and people of other faiths. Unbelievers are most often seeking churches during Christmas holidays and then in the context of tourism, when the churches are percieved as part of the Czech Republic’s historical and cultural heritage. When entering the churches, discrete clothing is required, ie. long trousers, covered shoulders, and men take off the hats or caps. However, in summer hot weather, more casual wear is tolerated, ie short pants.
The most commonly used symbol of Christian faith is the cross that is usually worn as a necklace. This symbol, however, is worn in the Czech Republic not only by believers, but also by some non-believers, and this condition is tolerated by society. In state institutions and state schools, the symbol of a cross is not used, as any other Christian symbols.
St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague
Jews in the Czech Republic belong to the Ashkenazi Jewish population. The first Jews settled in the territory of today’s Czech Republic in the 10th century. Still, they were under pressure, which grew several times in the pogrom or the expulsion of the Jews. The situation has improved only in the time of the Enlightenment. A major turning point occurred during the Second World War, when 80 000 Czech Jews did not survive the holocaust. As a result of the Communist regime, the number of Jews was still decreasing. At present, around 15-20 000 Jews live in the Czech Republic. There are 10 Jewish communities in the Czech Republic, and worship is held in several synagogues deployed throughout the Czech Republic. (Prague has 4 synagogues)
Great synagogue in Plzen
Islam is not very much represented in the Czech Republic and it is mostly confessed to immigrants. Conversists account for only a small proportion of the total number of Muslims. Functioning mosques are in Prague and Brno.
Mosque in Prague
The Vietnamese minority, which follows the Mahayana direction of Buddhism, is reported to this religion. In the Czech Republic there is a Buddhist temple in Varnsdorf and three Korean Buddhist temples. (Prague, Brno). Czech Buddhists are mostly followers of Vajraya, ie Tibetan Buddhism.
RELIGION AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
Czech education is secular. In some schools (religious), religion is taught as an optional subject, but accurate records of the number of pupils are not performed. Children can go to catechism to the rectory. The higher presence of the spiritual and religious aspect of life is practiced in the Czech Waldorf schools.
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2/ Religions in Czech. Available from: https://www.czso.cz/csu/czso/nabozenska-vira-obyvatel-podle-vysledku-scitani-lidu-2011-61wegp46fl (2018-02-14)
3/ Religions in Czech. Available from: https://www.czso.cz/csu/czso/nabozenske_vyznani_obyvatelstva_ceske_republiky_23_12_04 (2018-02-14)
5/ Ethnics and minorities in Czech. Available from: http://www.statistikaamy.cz/2016/02/vyvoj-poctu-cizincu-v-cr/ (2018-02-14)