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.
Reactions of Belgian Muslims across Flanders concerning the _Fitna’ film are mixed in the intensity of their criticism and concern. Farid El Machaoud of the League of Muslims in Belgium said: I feel slightly offended by certain scenes and among other things, the fact that certain verses from the Koran were taken out of context. The Federation of Moroccan Organizations, the Union of Turkish Associations, and the Immigrant Youth Work Platform said in a joint statement that the film has everything to do with xenophobia and racism and nothing to do with freedom of speech. Flemish Minister for Integration Marino Keulen supports the right for politicians to make independent films but criticized _Fitna’ as lacking in any kind of nuance.