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Belgian Government Refuses Recognition of Great Mosque Over Fears of Foreign Influence

December 12th, 2020 16:01

Bel­gian media is report­ing that the Bel­gian gov­ern­ment has refused to rec­og­nize the Great Mosque of Brus­sels over fears of for­eign influ­ence. Accord­ing to The Brus­sels Times arti­cle:

Fed­er­al jus­tice min­is­ter Vin­cent Van Quick­en­borne (Open VLD) has declined to grant a new recog­ni­tion to the Great Mosque in the Cinquan­te­naire park in Brus­sels unless there is a man­age­ment change.

The Great Mosque had its recog­ni­tion as a local faith com­mu­ni­ty with­drawn last year after it was found to be under the influ­ence of the Sau­di Ara­bi­an gov­ern­ment, respon­si­ble for the prop­a­ga­tion of Salafist the­ol­o­gy, seen as being extrem­ist. The new appli­ca­tion for recog­ni­tion was sup­port­ed by the main Mus­lim rep­re­sen­ta­tive organ­i­sa­tions, but was nev­er­the­less turned down.  The rea­son was that Bel­gian intel­li­gence had found evi­dence that the depar­ture of the Saud­is from the run­ning of the mosque had cleared the way for Moroc­co, which had installed its own rep­re­sen­ta­tives. There was even a sug­ges­tion of espi­onage being car­ried out by Rabat under cov­er of the mosque. Three of the mosque’s staff, includ­ing one direc­tor, were iden­ti­fied as mem­bers of Moroc­can intelligence.

Read the rest here.

The arti­cle fur­ther reports:

The Mus­lim Exec­u­tive, the largest group rep­re­sent­ing Mus­lims in Bel­gium, has been ordered to purge itself of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Moroc­can gov­ern­ment. The same order has been giv­en to the non-prof­it set up by the Exec­u­tive to organ­ise a new train­ing pro­gramme for imams.

Past report­ing by the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) on for­eign influ­ence over Islam in Europe has included:

  • In Novem­ber, the GIOR ana­lyzed how for­eign and transna­tion­al actors are influ­enc­ing Islam in France.
  • In Novem­ber, the GIOR report­ed that Turkey had inten­si­fied its rela­tions with Mil­lî Görüş in Ger­many, a transna­tion­al Islam­ic move­ment cov­ered by the GIOR.
  • In Octo­ber, the GIOR report­ed that the Dutch Par­lia­ment pub­lished an inquiry into for­eign influ­ence over the country’s Muslims.