Belgium to expel radical Saudi imam
7 October, 2017
Belgium is taking steps to expel a Saudi imam, who preaches at the country's biggest mosque, for spreading extremist ideology, Minister for Immigration Theo Francken said last Tuesday. The imam's residence permit was withdrawn as a prelude to expelling him. He had lodged an appeal, but if failed this would oblige him to leave the country.
“There is a problem with the Grand Mosque. I have taken the decision to withdraw the residence permit of the imam of that mosque,” Francken said. “We have had some very clear indications that he was very radicalised, Salafist and conservative. He was dangerous for our society and national security,” he added without naming the imam.
Brussels' Grand Mosque, which was leased to Saudi Arabia for 99 years in the 1960s as part of an energy deal, has faced repeated accusations from local politicians of propagating ultra-conservative forms of Islam. The Salafist movement, which is strongly influenced by Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi school of Islam, has been linked to militant groups such as Islamic State.