As part of the Muslims March Against Terrorism, some 60 imams stopped on the stairs of the Bourse (Stock Exchange) in Brussels at 11:00 on Monday in front of a crowd of onlookers that was just as large in number, according to the police. The initiative aims to condemn the attacks committed in the name of Islam. One man disrupted the event. He was restrained and dismissed but not arrested, according to Ilse Van de Keere, spokesperson for the Brussels-Ixelles police.
Speeches were made on the stairs. Imam Hassen Chalghoumi, president of the French Imams Conference and co-organiser of the march, thanked Interior Minister Jan Jambon for his presence and support. He said that the terrorists “have sullied Islam and Muslims.” The imams reminded that, according to Islam, the man who kills an innocent man, kills all mankind.
While Rabbi Avi Tawil, the director of the European Jewish Community Center, shared his dream of one day seeing everyone in agreement over religions or clothing in the streets, a man aggressively called him a liar several times before being restrained and dismissed by police officers. “We must not get things mixed up”, said Jan Jambon. “Taking security measures alone is not enough if we are to eradicate violent extremism at the root. We must strengthen the social fabric and we must heal and promote our model of society and tell our young people: ‘Our society offers a wealth of opportunities. Take advantage of them. We will help you in this process.'”
The march comes from Germany and will travel to France tomorrow. “Bringing together cities harassed by terrorism is an act of strength, stressed the Brussels Alderman of Religious Service, Alain Courtois. “Brussels has paid a heavy price for hatred.” The French Jewish writer, Marek Halter, the co-organiser, hopes that with this march “people will say to themselves: ‘Basically, they are just like us.’ We want to show that we are all made in His image, as is written in the three monotheistic religions. It is time for us to proclaim this with strong conviction.
Many people of the Islamic faith made the journey. A woman in her sixties said “they are murderers who have used religion as a tool to do evil” when referring to radicalised terrorists.