According to The Economist (15 Oct., 2017):
“In a kingdom of 11m people, Islam claims the loyalty of about 800,000 souls, of whom the vast majority originate either from Morocco or Turkey. Most of the country’s 300-plus mosques are Turkish or Moroccan in flavour, and imams who serve them usually come from those countries.
Back in 1967, Belgium’s King Baudouin formally transferred to his Saudi counterpart King Faisal a piece of prime property which later became the city’s Great Mosque and main Islamic Centre. In Belgium the authorities are more reliant on deals with the governments of Morocco and Turkey to keep an eye on mosques and their members. The Muslim Executive of Belgium, which advises the government on the generous subsidies that it gives to Islamic groups and teachers, is controlled by people close to Moroccan officialdom. Turkey sends imams to serve its Belgian kin. This sort of approach has its advantages for all three governments, but it means that Belgium’s Muslims are not being allowed to develop a style and sensibility of their own.”
Here are 6 things you need to know about Islam in Brussels.
- In Brussels, the country’s capital, 25% of the population is Muslim, namely immigrants Turkey, Morocco, and France.The multicultural nature of the city has prompted authorities to turn a blind eye to suspicious activity all in the service of “tolerance”.
- Belgium’s population is small, coming in at just 11 million people. 6% of Belgium’s population is Muslim. That number is growing, even though it’s already higher than many European cities.
- The capital of Belgium is sometimes referred to as the jihadist capital of Europe. Islamic terrorist Salah Abdeslam fled to Brussels after attacking Paris. He was aided and embedded by Muslim locals. Belgian authorities finally caught Abdeslam,
- Parts of Brussels have been described as Muslim “no go zones”. Molenbeek is aa crammed but pretty cobbled-street district with a population of more than 100,000 people, mostly of Moroccan, Algerian, Gulf State, Turkish or North African decent. It is predominantly Muslim, with more than 20 mosques, but it’s the prayer halls and a history of the import of 600 ardent Salafist imams since the 1980s that has inspired some youths to join jihad.
- Over 500 Muslims from Belgium joined jihadist groups, with most coming from Brussels. Prime Minister Charles Michel, following revelations many of the Paris attackers were from his country, and mostly all from Molenbeek said, “This is a gigantic problem, apart from prevention we should also focus on repression”, adding his nation had suffered from a “laissez-faire” attitude and were now paying the price.
- Brussels sits at the centre of Europe’s debate on Muslim refugees.The city absorbed many Muslims fleeing Syria and Iraq. EU officials and German envoys, including Angela Merkel, have used Brussels as meeting ground to call for more Muslim refugees. [source: The Dailywire]