The recognition of the Executive of the Muslims of Belgium (EMB) or Muslim Executive is revoked. “I have never experienced such amateurism,” writes Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open Vld) in a press release. The liberal now calls on Belgian Muslims to start a representative body that can represent their religion in our country.
The problems at the EMB have been dragging on for years, according to the press release. For example, the mandate of the members of the executive has already expired 2.5 years and decisions are taken by some members of the board of directors. State security identified foreign interference in 2020. An assessment report also noted a lack of female representation and infiltration by extremists.
“I have never experienced such amateurism,” writes the justice minister. “And that for a body that plays a crucial role for the Muslim community in our country. He deserves better and that is why I have decided to withdraw the recognition.”
Van Quickenborne had already given the institution notice of default twice, but despite consultations, that did not bring any solace. He now calls for the Muslim community to organize itself “in a transparent, independent and pluralistic manner, based on religious freedom and the democratic and free nature of our society”.
For the time being, some administrative tasks can still be performed. Van Quickenborne says that no subsidies will be paid until there is a new interlocutor for the Belgian government. That is an annual sum of 600,000 euros.
The procedure to withdraw the recognition of the EMB was started in February of this year. The chairman of the executive, Mehmet Üstün, called Van Quickenborne’s decision “unacceptable”. He also said he was “surprised and disappointed”. Üstün was linked to “extremism in Limburg” by State Security, who vehemently denied the allegations.
At the beginning of this month, the EMB announced that it would take the justice minister to court for “continuing violation of the Belgian Constitution”. “Raised by polarizing anti-Islamic political currents in Flanders, the Minister of Justice is trying to blow up the relationship with the Executive of the Muslims of Belgium (EMB) as openly as possible,” wrote chairman Üstün in a press release.
Only at the earliest within 1.5 years trial about abuses at Muslim executive
Van Quickenborne withdraws recognition of Muslim executive
Nearly half a billion euros in subsidies go to religion
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