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Belgian Justice Minister Calls for Foreign Influence Investigation of Official Muslim Body

November 3rd, 2021 09:31

Bel­gian media is report­ing that the country’s Jus­tice Min­is­ter has asked State Secu­ri­ty to inves­ti­gate the Mus­lim Exec­u­tive, the body rep­re­sent­ing the country’s Mus­lims, to deter­mine the extent of for­eign influ­ence. Accord­ing to the Brus­sels Times report:

Octo­ber 7, 2021: Jus­tice Min­is­ter Vin­cent Van Quick­en­borne has ordered the civil­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice to inves­ti­gate the affairs of the Mus­lim Exec­u­tive, the body that rep­re­sents the country’s Muslims.Van Quick­en­borne (Open VLD) revealed his plans on last night’s broad­cast of the inves­tiga­tive doc­u­men­tary series Pano on the VRT, which was look­ing at for­eign influ­ence on the Exec­u­tive. The Mus­lim Exec­u­tive was set up to rep­re­sent the inter­ests of all Mus­lims in Bel­gium but some groups have long com­plained that pow­er­ful out­side inter­ests, prin­ci­pal­ly Sau­di Ara­bia and its client states, exer­cise too much pow­er behind the scenes, to the dis­ad­van­tage of more lib­er­al factions.[…]

The object of the audit is to deter­mine the extent of for­eign inter­fer­ence in the affairs of the Exec­u­tive, he said. ‘There are reports from with­in this coun­try, but also from abroad, which show that organ­i­sa­tions such as Diyanet [Turkey’s offi­cial state Direc­torate of Reli­gious Affairs] and the Rassem­ble­ment des Musul­mans de Bel­gique are vehi­cles for for­eign gov­ern­ments to keep a grip on the Mus­lim community.”

Read the rest here.

Bel­gian pub­lic media iden­ti­fies the Rassem­ble­ment des Musul­mans de Bel­gique as a group that, despite its name, rep­re­sents Moroc­can Islam and is financed direct­ly from Moroc­co. The arti­cle also says that the for­eign influ­ence is espe­cial­ly notable in anoth­er umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion which is part of the Mus­lim Exec­u­tive and which includes the Diyanet, and the Rassem­ble­ment as well as  Mil­lî Görüş, a Turk­ish reli­gious and polit­i­cal move­ment which has called for an end to the sec­u­lar regime in Turkey.

The GIOR has report­ed on the Ger­man government’s asser­tion that Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Erdoğan’s AKP par­ty has inten­si­fied its rela­tions with Mil­lî Görüş in Ger­many. We have also report­ed that Bel­gian State Secu­ri­ty inves­ti­gat­ed a mosque con­nect­ed to the Mil­lî Görüş move­ment and head­ed by the chair­man of the Mus­lim Exec­u­tive, Mehmet Üstün.

The Bel­gian Diyanet Foun­da­tion (Turk­ish: Belçi­ka Diyanet Vak­fı) con­trols around 70 of the approx­i­mate­ly 300 mosques in Bel­gium and is the Bel­gian branch of the Diyanet, Turkey’s state insti­tu­tion for man­ag­ing reli­gious affairs. In Bel­gium, believ­ers buy or have a mosque built at their expense and hand it over to the Bel­gian Diyanet Foun­da­tion. The Diyanet then sends a Turk­ish-trained imam and pays his salary, much like the Turk­ish-Islam­ic Union for Reli­gious Affairs (DITIB) in oth­er Euro­pean countries.