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Belgium withdraws Saudi administration of Brussels Mosque in favour of Morocco

The Great Mosque in Brussels [William Murphy/Flickr]

The Belgian government has officially decided to withdraw the administration of the Great Mosque in Brussels from Saudi Arabia and give it to Morocco. With this decision Brussels has abolished a bilateral agreement made in 1969.

The decision was based on a series of recommendations issued by a parliamentary committee charged with investigating the terror attacks that rocked the capital Brussels in March 2016.

The findings of the parliamentary committee referred to the Great Mosque as promoting a Salafi-Wahhabi Islam that encourages violence and extremist ideology. Spanish newspaper ABC said that the decision of the Belgian Justice Minister, Koen Geens, comes at a time when “Saudi media is trying to promote new reforms, announced by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, which include giving women a margin of freedom”.

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The same media outlet pointed out that the Great Mosque, which is governed by an Islamic institution set up by Saudis in 1962 and called the “Muslim World League,” will be under the guardianship of another Muslim organiation from Morocco that pursues a more tolerant and moderate Islam.

Moroccans are the largest nationality of immigrants living in Belgium. The Maliki doctrine remains more tolerant compared to the Wahhabi doctrine, which is criticised for engaging in preaching activities.

The newspaper added that “Wahhabism urges the need for men to exercise guardianship of women in almost all activities, and it justifies jihad and sacred war”.
George Dalman, MP of the Belgian Humanist Democratic Party, said that the fight against extremist ideology must include all European countries, especially since there are 20 other mosques in Europe which belong to the “Muslim World League,” led by Saudi Arabia.

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