The N-VA wants a clean slate: “Replace the Muslim executive with a Flemish body”

8 October 2021
Koen Metsu & Nadia Sminate

The Flemish Parliament is working on a new decree for the recognition of religious communities in Flanders. The decree reconciles religious freedom and the limitation of planning burden with the universally recognised need for control. On the basis of this decree, stricter and better control will be possible in mosques where extremism is preached, as was shown in the Pano report of 6 October 2021.

Flanders puts clear principles first, says Flemish MP Nadia Sminate. “Anyone who does not conform to the rule of law, who rejects our values and norms and who, finally, operates more as a gateway to foreign policy from Morocco, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, for example, has no place for recognition as a place of worship in Flanders. Indeed, religious communities must strengthen social cohesion in the community, not break it down,” Nadia Sminate says.

“Starting today, we are ensuring clarity on the expectations we place on these local religious communities, such as transparency, prohibition of foreign funding and respect for our standards and values. Recognition will also no longer be a ‘win for life’: we ensure enhanced monitoring and remediation, even after the recognition. This will be done by the Flemish Information and Screening Service, which is yet to be set up. This information will allow the Flemish Government to deliver advice on recognition with more knowledge of the facts,” Nadia Sminate adds.

The Pano report also indicates that State Security links the chairman of the Muslim Executive to Muslim extremism, more specifically in Limburg. “We no longer trust the Muslim Executive as a representative body for Flemish Muslims,” say Nadia Sminate and Koen Metsu. They are constantly in the newspapers with internal conflicts, foreign espionage, and this week with extremism as well.”

Koen Metsu had already argued in the Federal Parliament for a thorough audit of the body and all associated non-profit associations. However, the Minister of Justice, Van Quickenborne, did not accept this and considered it sufficient to examine the annual accounts. These eventually turned out to be laced with unusual transactions, which again set off alarm bells. “It is actually thanks to our preparatory work and the Pano report that the minister has reconsidered and requested an investigation after all. It was high time because he has let the situation go on for far too long,” MP Koen Metsu concludes.

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