According to its organizers last Monday, the third annual Muslim Fair, which was held in Brussels from November 7th to November 10th, attracted more than 20,000 visitors at the Tour & Taxis site. “This year’s success makes Brussels Muslim Fair a major event in the cultural programme of the European capital and as such is likely to be a regular occurrence. Despite the intense controversy experienced before the opening, members of the public responded massively to the organisers’ appeal, showing its continuing support”, they rejoiced.
The organisers had indeed had to cancel Kuwaiti preacher Tareq Al-Suwaidan’s participation, as federal authorities had stripped him of the visa granting him access to the Belgian territory. The preacher is often described as the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait. His coming to the Muslim Fair organised at Tour & Taxis had been denounced by both the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism (LBCA) and the Lay Jewish Community Centre (CCLJ). Over the course of last summer, the preacher’s sermons became increasingly aggressive towards the Jews and Israel.
Despite this controversy, the organisers insist that the atmosphere was “festive, convivial and family-friendly”. They have already announced that the fourth annual Muslim Fair will be held in Brussels in the autumn of 2015.
Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)