Antisemitic material used to train imams in Belgium: report
Country’s coordination body for threat assessment previously warned of extreme strains of Islam in Belgium.
A number of Muslim institutions in Belgium are using ultra-conservative manuals containing antisemitic passages to train imams, according to a confidential report by the country’s coordination body for threat assessment (OCAM).
The body found that training manuals used in Brussels’ Grand Mosque, as well as other institutions, contained “outdated and extremely conservative language” and teachings that stand in “stark contrast with Belgian or European social contexts.”
The study, which analyzed manuals used in 2016 and 2017, was originally intended for the parliamentary committee following up on the March 2016 terror attacks in Brussels.
According to La Libre, which saw a copy of the report, the manuals contained antisemitic and homophobic passages, as well as violent calls to jihad. In one text, Jews are reportedly called “a corrupt, avaricious and perfidious people,” while another said homosexuals should be thrown off buildings and stoned.
OCAM warned in February that extreme strains of Islam threatened to drive out the moderates in Belgium. In March, the Belgian government announced it would end its long-term lease of the Grand Mosque, the country’s largest and oldest mosque, to the Saudi royal family, as part of its counterterrorism efforts. The notice period ends in March 2019.
The new report cautioned against alarm over the findings, noting that a new generation of imams advocating a more moderate reading of Islamic texts is emerging in Belgium.