X

Belgium Revokes Recognition and Funding for Official Muslim Umbrella Organization Accused of Foreign Influence

February 21st, 2022 13:15

Bel­gian media is report­ing that the Bel­gian gov­ern­ment has decid­ed to with­draw recog­ni­tion and fund­ing from the Mus­lim Exec­u­tive, the offi­cial inter­locu­tor between the gov­ern­ment and orga­nized Islam in the coun­try. The gov­ern­ment claims the umbrel­la group, sus­pect­ed of for­eign influ­ence, doesn’t rep­re­sent all Mus­lims and is “detri­men­tal to mod­ern Islam.” Accord­ing to a report in the Brus­sels Times:

Feb­ru­ary 18, 2022 Fed­er­al Jus­tice Min­is­ter Vin­cent Van Quick­en­borne has decid­ed to with­draw the recog­ni­tion of the Mus­lim Exec­u­tive – the offi­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Islam in Bel­gium – after the organ­i­sa­tion has been under sus­tained crit­i­cism.  The Mus­lim Exec­u­tive receives approx­i­mate­ly €600,000 in sub­si­dies per year but is sus­pect­ed of for­eign influ­ence from Turkey and Moroc­co,  as well as mal­func­tion­ing and rad­i­cal­ism.  “I have start­ed the pro­ce­dure to with­draw the recog­ni­tion of the Mus­lim Exec­u­tive,” Van Quick­en­borne announced on Flem­ish radio on Fri­day morn­ing. “That means that we will no longer pro­vide sub­si­dies and that their role will then dis­ap­pear.”  He added that the body is not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of all Mus­lims in Bel­gium. “There is an old­er gen­er­a­tion, which has lost all con­tact with young Mus­lims, that is in charge here. This is detri­men­tal to mod­ern Islam. This exec­u­tive can no longer be a dis­cus­sion partner.”

Read the rest here.

The Mus­lim Exec­u­tive of Bel­gium (Exé­cu­tif des Musul­mans de Bel­gique, EMB) is elect­ed by around 300 mosques in Bel­gium of which many have been linked to for­eign and transna­tion­al influ­ence actors such as Turkey, Moroc­co, or the Mil­lî Görüş move­ment. Bel­gian pub­lic media has iden­ti­fied EMB mem­ber Rassem­ble­ment des Musul­mans de Bel­gique as a group that rep­re­sents Moroc­can Islam and is financed direct­ly from Moroc­co. The arti­cle also says that for­eign influ­ence is espe­cial­ly notable in anoth­er umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion which is part of the EMB and which includes the Diyanet, and the Rassem­ble­ment as well as  Mil­lî Görüş. The Bel­gian Diyanet Foun­da­tion con­trols around 70 mosques in Bel­gium and is the Bel­gian branch of the Diyanet, Turkey’s state insti­tu­tion for man­ag­ing reli­gious affairs.