Hungary's Jewish federation protests extremist group

Says it can't explain foundation of "Hungarian Guard" by small far-right group Jobbik.

hungarian flag 88 (photo credit: )
hungarian flag 88
(photo credit: )
A Hungarian Jewish group on Wednesday called on the government to ban a new extreme nationalist group, saying its black uniforms were reminiscent of the Fascists from the 1940s. The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) said it was at a loss to explain the foundation of the "Magyar Garda" (Hungarian Guard) by Jobbik, a small, far-right party which has representatives on several municipal councils. "We trust that the (government) will find a constitutional way to step up against the existence of this and similar groups and guarantee a peaceful existence for Hungarian Jews and every Hungarian resident," Mazsihisz said in a statement. The federation expressed outrage about the uniforms and coat of arms worn by the Magyar Garda, which it said "was similar to the point of deception to the uniforms of the Fascist movements of the 1940s." Magyar Garda founder Gabor Vona last week told state radio that some 300 people had applied to join the group so far. The Magyar Garda listed the "physical, intellectual and spiritual" formation of its members, participation in emergency rescue and civil defense activities and the care for Hungarian culture and history among its main activities. The group plans to hold an induction ceremony for 56 members on Aug. 25 in the Buda Castle, to be conducted by Lajos Fur, a former defense minister and former president of the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF), a center-right opposition party. The MDF, which has seats in parliament, called Fur's participation in the event "shocking and rankling," saying the objective of the Magyar Garda was "to intimidate the silent majority." "There is no need in Hungary in 2007 for a shadow army like the Magyar Garda," the party said.