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Belgium Preparing to Ban Foreign Mosque Funding

October 28th, 2021 14:07

Turk­ish media is report­ing that Bel­gium is prepar­ing to ban for­eign fund­ing of mosques, includ­ing Turkey pay­ing imams’ salaries. Accord­ing to the BBC Turk­ish report:

Octo­ber 8, 2021: In the Flem­ish part of Bel­gium, the gov­ern­ment is prepar­ing for a new reg­u­la­tion to end Ankara’s involve­ment with Diyanet mosques. The Flem­ish gov­ern­ment, which will lim­it finan­cial resources or aid from abroad to mosques in Bel­gium, will also pre­vent imams from being paid by Turkey. With the new reg­u­la­tion, a 4‑year wait­ing peri­od will be intro­duced for the license of places of wor­ship, and the licens­es of mosques belong­ing to the com­mu­ni­ty that encour­age dis­crim­i­na­tion, hatred or vio­lence in the soci­ety will be revoked. The Turk­ish gov­ern­ment is con­cerned about the new reg­u­la­tion in Bel­gium. In a state­ment made by the Turk­ish Embassy in Brus­sels, it was said, “We hope that the Bel­gian author­i­ties will show due dili­gence so that the afore­men­tioned draft law does not harm the free­dom of reli­gion and wor­ship in the country.”[…]

62 of the mosques in Bel­gium are affil­i­at­ed with the Bel­gian Diyanet Foun­da­tion (BDV), the branch of the Pres­i­den­cy of Reli­gious Affairs in this coun­try. The Flem­ish gov­ern­men­t’s decree to lim­it for­eign influ­ence, includ­ing reduc­ing Turkey’s influ­ence on Bel­gian mosques, was passed by the vast major­i­ty of par­lia­ment. The decree is expect­ed to enter into force after being read a sec­ond time at the request of the Green Left Par­ty and the Flem­ish Inter­est Par­ty. [Trans­lat­ed by Google with edits]

Read the rest here.

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.