A church in the Czech Republic's capital of Prague has been targeted by neo-Nazi's for its participation in a campaign to establish "HateFree" zones in the city.

The door of Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren's Diaconia office was sprayed with neo-Nazi messages in late April along with property belonging to several other organisations also taking part in the campaign.

The church says it will stay part of Prague's 'HateFree' community, and remain an open and safe place for all people, regardless of their color of skin, nationality, religion or sexual orientation.

Petr Haska, director of the ECCB Diaconia, said the church will not be intimidated. "The diaconia has been, is and will be, an open and safe place for all. Our work is based on Christian principles. Hatred is no solution.”

Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, has commended the Diaconia ECCB for standing against extremism.

“It seems the strength and unity of Christians across the globe is becoming increasingly vital as we encounter hate, racism and extremism,” he said. “We must dwell together not in hate but in hope. As you serve people in need with equality and justice, we are present on this pilgrimage with you, and we will move together without fear.”

A number of other groups have also expressed their support for the church's stance including the Lutheran World Federation.

“We stand with you as you continue standing with people struggling for justice and their rights, needing your compassion and your love,” LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge, wrote in a letter to ECCB synodal leader Rev Daniel Ženatý.

The HateFree Culture campaign was established by the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion three years ago. Businesses and organisations involved in the campaign display a pink sticker on their doors or shopfronts.

~ www.oikoumene.org