State security lists more than 100 active Salafist organisations in Belgium
Friday, 19 April 2019
The federal state security agency has listed more than 100 organisations in Belgium representing the extremist religious Salafist tendency of Islam, according to a written answer provided to justice minister Koen Geens. Salafism is a tendency of Islam developed in Egypt in the 19th century as an anti-imperialist movement, related to the hardline Wahhabi movement in Saudi Arabia. It is considered one of the most fundamentalist Islamist movements, rightly or wrongly claimed by the perpetrators of terrorist acts across the world.
State security is keen to mitigate its conclusions, however. While Salafist tendencies were discovered in in a number of messages on social media, for example, they nevertheless represent a small minority of the views represented by more moderate Islamic tendencies, which tend in any case to be less vocal.
In addition, state security stresses, the mere adherence to more or less Salafist ideals does not imply any involvement in terrorist activities. Included on the list are mosques where the imam is a supporter of Salafism, or members of the congregation are, or the mosque receives financial support from Salafist origins. As well as mosques, the list includes community and educational establishments.
State security also points the finger at the internet, which allows a voice to extremist tendencies which tends to outweigh more moderate trends in Islam, making the viewpoint appear more important than it actually is.