Parliamentary investigation committee reviews Grand Mosque concession
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    Parliamentary investigation committee reviews Grand Mosque concession

    © Belga
    © Belga

    The Parliamentary Investigation committee responsible for investigating the March 22nd attacks, wishes to re-examine the concession granted to the Grand Mosque of Brussels. Experts in the field are investigating several avenues in this regard. The aim is to achieve a consensus next Monday, the President of the Committee, Patrick Dewael (Open Vld), said during interviews given to the daily newspaper, Het Belang van Limburg, and Radio 1 (part of the VRT group).

    The Grand Mosque of Brussels is presently financed from Saudi Arabia, thus, for the most part, being outside of the control of the Belgian authorities. The Islamic Cultural Centre has a concession to use the land (upon which the Grand Mosque is built) for 99 years, thanks to the previous efforts of King Baudouin. Mr Dewael justified, “The fact that, at present, a Saudi Arabian satellite is spreading a form of Wahhabi Islam submitting our laws to a type of religion from one of our properties, is unacceptable for all committee members. Its interpretation of religion disregards the fundamental principles upon which our rule of law is based.”

    We learned before the summer holidays that the investigative commission wished to re-examine the applicable concession. One of the avenues, suggested by the experts, is to put the mosque under the auspices of the Muslim Executive but various parties have expressed their doubts about this. Thus, on Tuesday, the daily newspaper De Morgen wrote that the New Flemish Alliance does not trust the Muslim Executive as a jurisdiction.

    Questioned during the broadcast “Matin Première” (on RTBF), the President of the Muslim Executive of Belgium, Salah Echallaoui stated on Wednesday morning that his organisation had “no control” over the Grand Mosque. He stressed that the Mosque is “not acknowledged therefore it is not structurally linked to the Muslim Executive of Belgium. It did not take part in the renewal to ensure democratic processes in 2014. It does not feature amongst the 292 mosques which signed up to membership of the Constitution and Belgian law.”

    The withdrawal of the residence permit of the Imam of the Grand Mosque, A.S. was announced on Tuesday by the Secretary of State for Asylum and Immigration, Théo Francken. However, Salah Echallaoui confirms that the Muslim Executive has never “had any information in this regard.”

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times