For the first time a Muslim organisation condemned the instrumentalisation of Islam to recruit voluntary fighters from Belgium for the civil-war in Syria. Forum Musulmans et Société (FMS) has expressed its disagreement with attempts to religify the war in Syria, which the organisation considers to be a war between Syrians and not religious fractions. According to them, both state and revolutionaries are Muslims who fight to defend their land and not their religion. The condemnation follows the revelation of a number of cases of Belgian Muslims who have departed to join the revolutionary forces in Syria.
FMS appeals to imams and Muslims in Belgium to denounce the departure of young Belgian Muslims to fight in Syria.
Vigilance Musulmane (Muslim Vigilance), a think tank and watch dog group based out of Belgium, has launched a website detailing their work ensuring for proper treatment within the country’s constitution, as well as the neutrality of the State and the separation of religion and politics in the country. The website features news articles on these topics. It is coordinated by Abdelghani Ben Moussa.
26-year-old Mahinur Özdemir is the first woman to enter a parliament in Europe with a headscarf. The daughter of a Turkish green grocer in Brussels immigrant quarter Schaarbeek,she is the youngest delegate in Brussels new regional parliament.Not only in Belgium,the headscarf has fueled discussion about religious symbols in public,about tolerance,and about integration policies. A portrait of a young woman who was born in Belgium and now sees herself as a representative of a new,self-confident Belgian Muslim immigrant generation.
This documentary shows the increasing fundamentalism in Belgium among Muslim youth. A young female researcher has conducted covert research in Molenbeek, Brussels, and discovered strong Islamisation and isolation of the Muslim community, and to a strong extend also among young women.
The spokesperson for the Belgian Muslim League, Farid El Machaoud said that mosques in Belgium don’t have enough space for all those who come for Friday prayers. “The Muslim population continues to grow and more and more youth go to the mosque,” says El Machaoud. In addition, he added that in big cities, there is significant shortage of adequate space – including the cities of Hasselt, Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels, Liege, Charleroi, and Doronik. The imam’s popularity also plays a role in this, where popular imam’s draw larger crowds, and less popular imam’s leave empty space in prayer areas.
The Belgian Muslim Executive hopes for a quick solution to the delay in the 2008 subsidies. Minister of Justice Jo Vandeurzen announced the delay the need to wait for reliable information about the financial situation of The Executive. Coskun Beyazgul, president of the Muslim Executive, says that they are in a financial crisis, and that he has hope that a solution would be found quickly. The Executive has no other means of income other than the Justice ministry subsidies, which are needed to pay rent and employees.
The recent start of a trial of six men accused of recruiting terrorists has put Belgian’s Muslim population in the spotlight. Worried that the country is emerging as a jihadist hub for terrorist attacks in Iraq, many Belgians blame the country’s open-door immigration policy, and hand-off approach concerning the construction of mosques in Belgium. In a country on the verge of a split, a growing fear about immigrants and Muslims seems to be a unifying position for a sizable portion of the population. However, others blame the rise of terror recruitment no on Belgium’s multiculturalism, but the country’s failure to successfully implement working integration model.