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    Government to discuss Grand Mosque proposals

    © Belga
    Mr Geens has clarified that he must decide the future of the Grand Mosque but terminating the lease is the responsibility of Jan Jambon.
    © Belga

    Next week, the Cabinet will discuss proposals relating to the future of the Grand Mosque in the Brussels Parc du Cinquantenaire. The Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, indicated the point in response to a parliamentary question from Georges Dallemagne (cdH).

    The management of this symbolic location for the practice of Islam in Belgium has regularly come under fire from critics in recent months, as much for its shortcomings as for the rigorist view of religion, inspired from Wahhabism, which is preached there.

    In October, the Parliamentary Investigative Committee upon the Terrorist Attacks recommended ending the agreement, which entrusted the mosque to Saudi Arabia in 1969. The parliamentary investigative committee proposed entrusting the management of the building to a new entity involving the Muslim Executive of Belgium and “all sensitivities and currents which characterise Islam and Belgian Muslims.”

    The actual termination of the perpetual lease, concluded with the Islamic and Cultural Centre, falls within the competence of the Department for thManagement of Public Buildings, and is therefore within the minister, Jan Jambon’s, remit.

    Mr Geens explained, “However, it falls to me to decide the future of the Grand Mosque.” He will follow the recommendations of the investigative committee in this regard. These are developing a new agreement with a new entity for which the “centre of gravity” of the mosque’s management will be located in Belgium, rather than abroad. The required process involves an application for such recognition by the Brussels region.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times