17:13 GMT +320 August 2019
Listen Live
    View of the Grand Mosque in Brussels, Belgium, October 3, 2017

    Belgium Ceases Saudi Lease of Brussels' Grand Mosque Over Extremism Concerns

    © REUTERS / Francois Lenoir/File Photo
    Get short URL

    Brussels' decision comes amid growing concerns of radicalism along with unforeseen consequences with Saudi Arabia and the large number of extremists living in the country.

    Belgium's government has ended Saudi Arabia's lease of the Grand Mosque of Brussels over fears the place of worship is being used to promote radical agendas.

    "The concession will be terminated immediately… in order to put an end to foreign interference in the way Islam is taught in Belgium," the Belgian government said in a statement

    Belgian lawmakers posted comments to the statement on Twitter.

    "The long-term lease agreement on the Grand Mosque in Brussels will be canceled shortly. This will be done in a relatively simple way. With this, we end the Salafist, violent extremist influences. Colleague @ Koen_Geens1 represents new interpretation in cooperation with Muslim executives," tweeted Belgium Interior Minister Jan Jambon.

    Belgium's Justice Minister Koen Geens has also posted his comment on the government's statement, saying, that the mosque will have to establish relations with the Belgian authorities, "respecting the laws and the traditions of our country, which convey a tolerant vision of Islam."

    READ MORE: Belgian FM Refutes Media Reports on Vanished Funds From Gaddafi Bank Accounts

    Belgium leased the Grand Mosque to Riyadh in 1969 with a 99-year rental term for free, providing Saudi-backed imams access to a Muslim immigrant community, mostly from Morocco and Turkey, in return for cheaper oil for its industries. 

    According to Business Insider, Belgium has the highest amount of extremists, living in the country.

    Europe has been a significant source of foreign fighters for Daesh, with the Soufan Group think tank estimating that some 6,000 people left Europe to side with the terrorist organization. 


    Belgium to Resume Deporting Sudanese as Claims of Torture in Sudan Refuted
    Domestic Abuse: Belgium Faces the Return of Former Daesh Veterans
    Belgium Reportedly Reduces Terrorism Threat Level From 3 to 2
    Belgium Appoints First Female Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
    lease agreement, lease, cease, mosque, Koen Geens, Jan Jambon, Saudi Arabia, Brussels, Belgium
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik