The Czech Republic may be one of the most atheistic nations in Europe, but many Czechs are converting to Islam in their search for spirituality.

Vladimir Sanka says he is one of several hundred new converts to Islam throughout the country and one of some 10,000 Muslims nationwide. Sanka heads the Islamic Center, based in the Czech capital, Prague.

Sanka says that only now, 15 years after the end of communist rule, are Czechs getting in touch with Islam. Czechs are predominantly atheists and Roman Catholics, with some 40 percent of the population labeling themselves as such.

Sanka is in his 40s and was born into an atheistic family. He had an atheistic education at school and in university, where he studied geology. He worked as a geologist for 15 years. Nine years ago, he converted to Islam. In 1995, Sanka became the head of the Islamic Center and an imam in Prague’s only mosque.

Sanka says the spiritual journey that led him to convert was a long and painful one…


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