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Brussels : Saudi Arabia to give up control of Belgium’s largest mosque

The Brussels Grand Mosque./Ph.DR
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The Belgian federal government is finally implementing the recommendations set by a parliamentary inquiry committee on terrorist attacks. According to Echo, a Belgian online newspaper, «the government will formally agree, this week, to the suspension of the lease that allows Saudi Arabia to manage the Grand Mosque of Brussels».

Thus, a one year notice was given to Saudi Arabia to give up control of the Mosque after 49 years. In fact, Belgium leased the Grand Mosque to Riyadh in 1969, allowing the Saudi-backed imams to preach Muslim immigrants in return of cheaper oil, reports Reuters. Raising concerns regarding the wave of radicalism in the country, Belgium believes that «these imams might be growing seeds of radical Islam among the Muslim community». One of the imams of the Grand mosque had «been deprived of his residence permit in Belgium last year for being linked to a Salafist movement».

Last October, the parliamentary inquiry committee recommended «putting an end to the convention that entrusted the mosque to Saudi Arabia». Instead, the entity proposed to entrust the management of the Grand Mosque to «a new entity involving the Executive of the Muslims of Belgium». The same source added that diplomatic contacts had to be made with the Saudi authorities to ensure that ending the convention would not be perceived as a casus belli between the two countries.

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