The Islam Party in Belgium has caused serious concern among the country's politicians as it wants to create an Islamic state and promotes the segregation of men and women in public transport, Belgian newspaper HLN reported.
"We want an Islamic state without changing the Belgian Constitution. We are concerned with the values of our religion," the party's founder Redouane Ahrouch said.
The party took Belgium by surprise in 2012, when it won two seats in municipal elections in the Molenbeek and Anderlecht communes. Now, it intends to participate in the upcoming 2018 municipal elections in other districts, and this has become a worrying sign for local politicians.
In response, two Flemish parties, the nationalist N-VA and the liberal democratic Open VLD, which are part of the ruling coalition, announced that they intend to prepare amendments to the Belgian constitution to prohibit the registration of political organizations of an extremist nature, adding that they consider the Islam Party as such.
In hun shariawereld hebben vrouwen geen rechten. En het begint bij apart openbaar vervoer. Ik walg van deze partij ISLAM. Dit is waarom @SafaiDarya en duizenden andere vrouwen uit Iran moesten vluchten. Dit is niet Europa, dit is spuwen op Europa.— Theo Francken (@FranckenTheo) 6 апреля 2018 г.
"I feel disgust toward this Islam Party. This is why @SafaiDarya (women's rights activist and N-VA politician, ed.) and thousands of other women had to flee Iran. This is not Europe, this is a mockery of Europe," Theo Francken, the Belgian state secretary and N-VA member wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the proposals of the Islam Party are not enjoying much support among the majority of the Muslim population in Belgium either.
N-VA member Darya Safai, who grew up in Iran, but has been living in Belgium for 18 years, said that she never thought she would have to deal with Sharia again.
Ik ben opgegroeid in een islamitische staat & weet wat sharia met een mens,zeker met vrouwen doet. Heb de vrouwenhaat aan de lijve ondervonden.18jaar geleden ben ik dat ontvlucht na een gevangenschap en sharia rechtbank. Nooit gedacht dat ik er ooit hier zou tegen moeten vechten. https://t.co/PB3c3epimJ— Darya Safai (@SafaiDarya) 6 апреля 2018 г.
"I grew up in an Islamic state and I know what Sharia does to a person, especially to women. I have experienced the hatred of women, 18 years ago I fled [the country] after an imprisonment and an experience with the Sharia court. Never thought that I should ever fight here again," Safai wrote on Twitter.
Not Everyone Is Against It
However, there are some people who do not see the Islam Party's proposals as something extraordinary.
For instance, Belgian politician André Flahaut has previously suggested teaching Arabic in schools of the French-speaking communities of Belgium, claiming that would be a new step "towards a joint peaceful coexistence."
According to data by the Flemish sociologist Jan Hertongen, there were about 780,000 Muslims living in Belgium as of January 1, 2015, which is 7% of the total population of the country.