Belgium: Anti-racism org accused of having radical Islamist on board

Belgium: Anti-racism org accused of having radical Islamist on board

Senator Alain Destexhe (MR) demanded on Sunday that all public support for MRAX (Movement against Racism, Antisemitism and Xenophobia) be stopped. He denounced the presence of Nordine Saidi in the association's office [ed: Saidi is on the board of directors], saying that he was an activist of radical Islam. Saidi headed the Egalite list [ed: equality without quotes] in the regional elections (June 7), a small, controversial party which included former activists of PTB (Belgian Workers' Party) as well as supporters of radical Islam.

Interviewed on May 17th on, Saidi refused to condemn Palestinian terror attacks or those committed on Sept. 11th.

"I understand suicide or terrorist attacks without necessarily justifying them. In any case, I refuse to condemn them if we can't speak about their causes. Yes, I refuse to condemn terrorist attacks! (...) To prevent these attacks, it's necessary to have dialog with all parties. If we want to prevent attacks, we'll have to one day accept talking with Bin Laden," he said.

MRAX is an association financed by the government, said Destexhe and journalist Claude Demelenne, co-authors of a book denouncing certain leftist circles of indulging radical Islam. According to them, it's unacceptable that this support benefits an association which has such a person in their office. They demand to suspend funding until Saidi resigns from MRAX.

During Sunday's debate, broadcast on both RTBF and RTL-TVi, there was a heated debate between Destexhe and Demelenne on the one hand, and the president of MRAX, Radouane Bouhlal, on the other.

According to the former, MRAX has became a plaything of radical Islam. "MRAX is undergoing a serious crisis now," they said, noting the protest movement by some of the association's staff.

Boulal answered that these are accusations without any proof. "We are a pluralist movement and proud of it," he added, regretting that his two detractors preferred to throw accusations at MRAX instead of engaging in substantive debate.

Boulal also defended Saidi, stressing his professional qualities and his commitment to the organization. However, he did distance himself from his declarations on terrorism.

Source: DH (French)

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