Brussels: One of Europe's largest Muslim cities

Brussels: One of Europe's largest Muslim cities

Via De Morgen, VRT (Dutch):

25% of the residents of Brussels are of Muslim origin, which makes Brussels one of the European cities with the largest Muslim presence, comparable to Birmingham in the UK. This according to a sociological study ('L'Iris et le Croissant' - the Iris and the Crescent) by UCL. The study was conducted by Sociologist Felice Dassetto, who has been researching Muslims, radicalization and intercultural ism for more than 30 years.

In total there are 250,000 to 300,000 Muslims in Brussels, about half the Muslim population of Belgium. 10-15% of the Muslims are practicing and active within religious associations.

Islam is also increasingly visible: there are more moques and minarets, more veiled owmen and more Muslim organizations.

After football, Islam mobilizes the most people in Brussels, more than the Catholic Church, political parties and unions. There are more than 200,000 Muslim organizations in Brussels, including 77 mosques. Dassetto speaks of a 'religious over-socializing' among young Muslims.

Neo-Salafism, the new variant of the most conservative denomination within Islam, has been winning increasingly more terrain in recent years. "We see this evolution since the end of the 1990s. Very alarming: they see their form of religion as the only pure one and therefore isolate themselves. Not only of other Muslims, but also - and mostly - from non-Muslims," according to the researcher.

Imams and Muslim teachers are taught mostly in private institutions. There are now four Salafist 'colleges' which teach imams.