Egalite, sans guillements (Equality without quotation marks), a social collective, has decided to make an appeal to Muslim show owners to offer cheaper aliments to socioeconomically weak Muslims during Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is traditionally coined by high expenditures for festive iftar meals following the breaking of the day-long fast after sunset. A Muslim family in Belgium spends in average 60 to 70 Euro for one iftar meal. A significant amount of Belgian Muslims are, however, unable to afford such expensive meals during Ramadan.
Egalite, sans guillements argues that Ramadan is the month of sharing and conviviality, thus shop owners should in this tradition enable all Muslims to participate in the iftar celebrations. Due to a sharp rise in earnings during Ramadan, in average three times more halal products are sold during the month, shop owners should be able to still make profits whilst making concessions to help fiscally restraint Muslim families.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said in an interview to Sud Presse that the recognition of the Muslim faith in Belgium needs to be linked to certain conditions, such as the surveillance of imams. Reynders wants to better control the training of imams and their teachings in mosques in order to prevent radicalisation. State financial aid towards the faith needs to be met with state scrutiny and influence upon the organisation of the faith, according to him. He wants to collaborate with Muslim communities in his efforts to clamp down on the radicalisation of Muslims in the country.
The executive of the group Muslims in Belgium, Semsettin Ugurlu, stated that ‘10% of the population of Belgium are Muslims and thus citizens with a right to practice their cult (…) the subsidies must not be used as a means to pressure” the community.
In a follow up to the story, Ugurlu proposed an imam school in Belgium in order to avoid recruiting imams taught elsewhere than in Belgium.