Belgium: Mosques don't have enough space

Farid El Machaoud, spokesperson for the Belgian Muslim League, says that mosques in Belgium don't have enough space for all the believers who come for Friday prayers. In the major cities particularly there's a space shortage. "The Muslim population continues to grow and more and more youth go to the mosque," says El Machaoud. He added that the space shortage is especially felt in Hasselt, Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels, Liege, Charleroi and Doornik.

The imam's popularity also plays a role. El Machaoud says that some imams attract large crowds to their sermons. Some mosques can't handle the influx, while others stand empty.

There are 300 mosques in Belgium, though not all are recognized. There are 5 recognized mosques in Brussels and 6 in Flanders, compared with 43 in Wallonia. The recognized mosques have been recieving a government subsidy since recently. According to Farid El Machaoud the subsidy is not enough, and the procedure to be recognized takes too long.

Source: HLN (Dutch)


Anonymous said...

and more youth go to the mosque," ---

i've swear i've seen here articles that show the opposite... whose right? these "studies" or the imams?

Esther said...

There was a study recently saying that not all the people who come from Muslim countries are practicing Muslims.

However, the general trend in Europe is that the second generation is becoming more religious, and sees itself more as Muslims.

Anonymous said...

ok, thx for clearing that up.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting activist, this Farid El Machaoud...

Les porteurs de la charte tiennent à prendre leurs distances par rapport aux interlocuteurs officiels du temporel du culte islamique en Belgique : "L’Exécutif des musulmans de Belgique n’est pas associé à notre initiative, insiste Farid El Machaoud, porte-parole de la Ligue des musulmans de Belgique (LMB), principale organisation belge signataire de la charte.

Farid El Machaoud is woordvoerder van Unie van Moskeeën en - recent - medestichter van de Halalfederatie. Die voert gesprekken met het Federaal Voedselagentschap en het ministerie van Volksgezondheid om tot een door iedereen erkend Belgisch halal-label te komen.
Humo 3472 | 20/03/2007
Ritueel slachten bij moslims: hoe koosjer is halal?
De importeur: 'Bij mij kan zelfs varkensvlees halal zijn'

According to Farid El Machaoud, president of the Belgian Union of Mosques, imams face a brighter future:
We expect the recognition of seven mosques this year. This means that finally at least seven imams will receive their salary from the government and that for the first time their profession will be recognized. As a result the government also wants to support the education of imams.
However, in the climate of the "war on terror," it is not always easy for a Muslim to be accepted as a Belgian citizen. Muslims face more and more security measures. El Machaoud explained that mosques and imams are being screened by the Ministry of Justice but that the procedures of screening are not clear. "We are concerned about this ambiguity," he said. That the Belgian government finally decided to support a "Belgian" education for imams can also be seen in the light of the "war on terror."
Looking for Imams for Belgian Mosques By Eva Vergaelen Dec. 14, 2006

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