Flanders: Three girls convert every day

Flanders: Three girls convert every day

Update: Fixed typos.

The first episode of "In Godsnaam" (In God's Name) on Eén, the new show by journalist Annemie Struyf, has already caused much agitation. The episode focused on an organization which helps Flemish girls convert to Islam.

According to Al Minara, an organization of converted Muslims, three Flemish girls choose Islam every day, which comes to more than a thousand every year. One of the central figures in the organization turns out to be Nordine Taouil, the imam who turned up in the spotlights during the school headscarf ban debate.

Struyf got a view into the organization, but when she asked about the Saudi sponsor of the organization she was resolutely asked to put away the movie camera.

In addition, the city of Ghent is reopening an investigation after a man said during the show that he lied about his identity in order to marry a Flemish girl.

One of the stories on the show was that of Linsey Daman from Sint-Amandsberg, who converted and now calls herself Safiya. She married Abdelali Jahoub, an Algerian she met through Muslima.com.

The marriage took place 12 days after their first meeting. Abdelali Jahoub has been living in Belgium for five years when the show was filmed. He admitted to the camera that he had problems with his papers. His wife, Safiya, said that he worked by a different name,a nd that he had also lied about his birth-town. "The city of Binjuskut, it doesn't exist. Therefore he can't go back to Algeria."

Abdelali Jahoub said he had to lie, though he didn't say why. He said he changed a few letters in his name.

The report shows how the marriage was performed by Catharina Segers, alderman of civil affairs. With 1,500 marriages a year, she couldn't remember the couple, but she know there's a file about them.

Segers: The marriage department of the city of Ghent concluded during the application of this marriage that there were sufficient elements to believe that this was a marriage of convenience. A file was sent to the public prosecution, but the attorney did not have enough evidence. Therefore I concluded the marriage."

Following the frankness of the young couple in "In Godsnaam" alderman Segers says that it's time to act. She updated the marriage department, they will summon these people and send a new file to the public prosecution. She says she's not going to get ahead of the case, but that it will most certainly get to court.

The alderman thinks that the couple has provided evidence of a sham marriage by their evidence. "In this case there was already a suspicion, but you can't prove anything with a suspicion. We're undertaking steps and can go back two years in order to disband a marriage and to eventually also invalidate a residence permit."

Sources: GvA, De Standaard (Dutch)

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