The Leuven communal council spoke out on Monday evening against the withdrawal of recognition from the Al Ihsaan mosque.
This opinion was expressed in the context of the process begun by the Flemish minister-president Liesbeth Homans (N-VA) to withdraw official recognition from the place of worship because of the Salafist activities reported to be led there.
The Sp.a, Groen, CD&V, Open Vld and PVDA parties supported the view of Leuven council, the N-VA and Vlaams Belang voted against it.
Homans, the new Flemish minister-president also in charge of Internal Affairs, set in motion a process on last July 26 through which the Al Ihsaan mosque in Wilsele (Leuven) would lose its official recognition and would not receive any more subsidies. According to information at the Flemish nationalist’s disposal, there was said to be Salafist activity there.
Equally at issue, was the reported collaboration of the mosque with an assistant imam who, in 2017, had been dismissed for having approved of violence against women “who behave badly.”
In the expressed view of Leuven council adopted on Monday evening, there is no objective element demonstrating the existence of a Salafist ideology legitimising or inciting violence within the mosque, or any activity at odds with fundamental rights. Furthermore, Al Ihsaan is involved in a positive and constructive way in Leuven’s local community, the council considered.