The head imam of the Al Khalil mosque in the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek – the largest mosque in the country – has had his right to residency in Belgium revoked by State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Sammy Mahdi (CD&V).
Mohamed Toujgani had his residency withdrawn in October of last year, reports VRT, with Mahdi citing “signs of a serious threat to national security.”
Speaking on the matter, Mahdi said “we want to send out a signal: those who sow hatred, divide our society and threaten our security, are not welcome in our country – not today, but also not in the years to come.”
“In the past we have given too much leeway to radical preachers. This man was probably the most influential preacher in Belgium. With this decision we make a difference.”
Mahdi based his decision on information from the security services and said he did not take it lightly. Specifics are not yet known.
History of anti-semitism and opposition to integration
Toujgani, who has Moroccan nationality, was ordered to leave the territory and has to comply with an entry ban for the next ten years.
According to the Cabinet, the normal appeal period has also expired, but Toujgani’s lawyer plans to dispute that. The imam has a wife and children in Belgium.
Predikte ooit nog de verbranding van alle joden. Niets te zoeken in ons land.
Diplomatiek niet de gemakkelijkste beslissing, maar in het belang van onze veiligheid de enige juiste die ik kon nemen ?https://t.co/b6TJNoMGjh
— Sammy Mahdi (@SammyMahdi) January 13, 2022
Translation: Once preached the burning of all Jews. Doesn’t belong in our country. Diplomatically not the easiest decision, but in the interest of our safety the only right one I could take.
Toujgani had been facing criticism for quite some time prior to the ban. Despite decades of residence in Belgium, he speaks neither Dutch nor French.
In 2019, a ten-year-old video of him surfaced in which he called for burning Jews. Although he is not known to the general public, Toujgani is a very influential figure in the Islamic community.