The Limburg prosecutor’s office has begun an investigation into an alleged email threat made against Flemish mobility minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA).
The threat came in an email addressed to Demir following recent comments she made in relation to mosques connected to the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs, known as the Diyanet.
Written in Turkish, the mail warned Demir to stop commenting or she would be raped.
Demir was born in Genk in Limburg province in 1980 to parents who are of Turkish-Kurdish origin who follow the Alevi tradition of Islam.
Her comments relate to a new system of recognition of local faith communities introduced last week by Flemish social affairs minister Bart Somers (Open VLD), which will withhold recognition from any religious group financed or influenced by foreign powers.
In a Facebook post last week, Demir claimed that the Diyanet mosques are being used as a means for the Turkish regime of president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to control Belgian Turks.
“Mosques must be financially and ideologically independent from their home countries. If not, they will eventually lose their recognition,” Demir wrote.
“A brave decision by the Flemish government that will promote integration. In addition, it responds to warnings from state security that Diyanet is “the long arm of Erdoğan” in Belgium.”
Federal police and both federal and Limburg prosecutors are reported to be taking the threat seriously, and an investigation is under way. In the meantime, police in Limburg have expanded their protection of the minister in and around her home in Genk.
In another incident, Elke Van den Brandt, mobility minister for Brussels region, in considering making an official complaint about an alleged death threat made against her on a Facebook group.
The group, calling itself ‘L’automobiliste en a marre’ (Motorists have had enough) has more than 26,000 members, and exists to protest against various measures proposed or already implemented in Brussels that inconvenience motorists.
The latest bone of contention concerns the decision of the Brussels government to close access by traffic to the Bois de la Cambre.