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.
A new report published by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) details how racism in Belgium increasingly manifests itself through Islamophobia. The country’s 600.000-strong Muslim community faces, according to the report, an increasing amount of structural discrimination in the employment and educational sector as well as in questions of access to public and private services. Of the racism classified as religiously based, 80% is aimed at Muslims in Belgium. What’s more important however is the role of the Belgian media, which is presented as highly Islamophobic with 51% of the annul media complaints received to be connected to Islamophobia. Additionally, 19% of employment complaints and 11% of educational complaints were related to anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiments and actions.
The ENAR also points out to the exclusion of students who choose to wear the hijab from the education system, even if no legal degree endorses these regulations. The organisation requests the Belgian government to implement and ensure the freedom of religion of Muslims by repealing all provisions on the prohibition of the hijab and other signs of convictional practices at school
Islamophobia on the rise in Belgium
After a union led debate upon the introduction of halal food, the Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company’s (STIB) Diversity Committee has accelerated the process after gelatine which contains pork was found in three salads offered at STIB’s canteens. Many of the STIB employees are of Muslim faith and those who support the motion to diversify the food offered by STIB canteens do so by arguing for change in face of shifting demographic structures amongst STIB employees.
BRUSSELS – A French-language document is circulating in Brussels and on the internet calling on Muslims to boycott the elections on 10 June because they are “illegal,” Le Soir reports. The 12-page document is titled “Participer aux elections” (Taking part in the elections) and is being distributed among the Arab Muslim community in Brussels and online. The document states that only Allah has the authority to make absolute laws. “Every Muslim who takes part in the elections is unfaithful,” the text reads. The text is anonymous, but well written, Le Soir writes. The author makes reference to the Koran and various prophets and is based on a fatwa from Great Britain.