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16:33
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  2/26/2013, Adar 16, 5773

Hungary Annuls Law to End Funding for Religion


Hungary's constitutional court annulled Tuesday part of a controversial law that ended official recognition and state funding for scores of religious communities.

The law had notably excluded Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu congregations, prompting heavy criticism from the international community, AFP reported.

"The Court believes that the regulations on obtaining status and recognition was unconstitutional and dependent on political decisions made in parliament," it said in a statement.

It also criticised the fact that parliament was not required to explain its decisions on whether a religious community obtained official status or not, and the lack of a right to appeal. "The regulations must be transparent and objective," the court said.

The decision is retroactive and all the religions that were deprived of their status must have their recognition restored, it said. Parliament approved a law in December 2011 that reduced the number of
recognized faiths from over 300 to just 14. Among the recognised faiths were so-called traditional religions like the Catholic, Reformed, Evangelical and Orthodox churches as well as Judaism.

But Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu congregations were excluded.