The Muslim Executive of Belgium (EMB) does not recognize any training given at the Grand Mosque of Brussels by the Islamic Cultural Centre of Belgium (CICB) nor the diplomas it has issued since its representativity of the Muslim faith was withdrawn from it in the 1990s, the EMB said in a press release. It added that no imam designated in a recognized mosque had followed any CICB training.
A report by the Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis, OCAM, makes an alarming assessment of the training of imams by the CICB, which falls under the World Islamic League and Saudi Arabia, and which is not recognized by the State of Belgium.
Belgium’s commission of inquiry into terrorist attacks recommended to the State to break its convention with Saudi Arabia for the running of the Grand Mosque. In March, the Government announced the break, with one year’s notice, following which the EMB will run the mosque once more, in collaboration with a local Muslim body.
“The Muslim Executive of Belgium cannot but be satisfied by the decision taken by the Federal Government to entrust it with the running of the CICB-Grand Mosque in the near future and pledges to assume its responsibilities in developing an Islam in Belgium, an open Islam anchored in the Belgian and European context,” the Executive’s president, Salah Echallaoui, stressed.
The EMB is also preparing to establish an institute for training imams and Islamic counsellors. It is expected to be open in time for the next academic year.
For their part, teachers of Islamic religion are trained within higher schools and/or universities, under partnerships concluded with the EMB, the Executive explained.
It also disclosed that under a partnership concluded with the managements of prisons, Islamic works placed in the hands of detainees must first receive a stamp of approval from the EMB.
The Brussels Times