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The Belgian government cuts the food to the management body of the Muslim faith

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Not independent enough, too undemocratic and transparent, subject to foreign interference… In short, “a sum of failures” and D’“amateurism”. The Belgian Minister of Justice, in charge of worship, Vincent Van Quickenborne, a Flemish liberal, had for several months made an uncompromising statement of the Executive of the Muslims of Belgium (EMB), a body which, at the time of its recognition official, appeared as a model in Europe in the mid-1990s. The ax fell in mid-September: the minister deprived this body, which is the official interlocutor of the authorities and is responsible for the temporal management of this cult, its official recognition and its subsidy (it was 639,000 euros in 2021).

Reduced to “current affairs” for weeks, plunged into a legal vacuum, the EMB is experiencing an existential crisis and the minister’s call on the Muslim community, which has some 400,000 members, to organize themselves to create another tool favoring better integration, seems illusory. The Executive denounces, for its part, “a grossly unconstitutional and unacceptable action” of the minister.

The Muslim cult was formalized in 1974 in Belgium, which notably authorized it to benefit from public funding, like the Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish, Protestant and Anglican cults, as well as the Secular Action movement. . The government was required by the Constitution to recognize a representative body of the Muslim community. The mission of this body: to appoint imams paid by the Ministry of Justice and teachers of Islamic religion – “religious and philosophical” courses are on the program of primary and secondary schools –, to examine the files for recognition of mosques and, then , exercise guardianship over them, etc. “It is the principle of separation of the Church (or Churches) and the State which allows religions to acquire in complete independence an organ of their choice”explains Caroline Sägesser, member of the Center for Sociopolitical Research and Information.

After twenty years of procrastination by both parties, a first executive with a general assembly was recognized in 1994 and set up in 1998. organization of elections by universal suffrage and control by the intelligence services in order to avoid a radical drift.

Persistence of a “foreign influence”

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