Le Matin – Management of mosques in Belgium: Allegations of interference against Morocco are unfounded and unacceptable

The allegations made against Morocco by the Belgian Minister of Justice, Vincent Van Quickenborne on an alleged “interference” by the Kingdom in the management of mosques in Belgium are “unfounded, incomprehensible and unacceptable”, underlined the ambassador of the Morocco in Brussels, Mohamed Ameur in an interview published on the site of the magazine “Le Vif”.

In a recent media release of rare violence, the Belgian Minister of Justice accused the Kingdom of engaging in “espionage activities”, in particular in the great mosque of Brussels and spoke of “tentacles of Morocco” in the management of Islamic worship in Belgium.

“I was stunned to observe a series of statements of rare aggressiveness towards a country so engaged with Belgium and Europe in highly strategic projects,” said Mr. Ameur, noting that “We cannot solicit Morocco’s cooperation for sensitive issues and plead for more complicity in their management and at the same time decry it in the public arena by unfairly accusing it of espionage and interference”.

The ambassador made it clear that “religious management is the business of Muslims in Belgium and that Morocco has never expressed the ambition to get involved because it does not concern it and it has no interest. to do it”.

Regarding the great mosque of Brussels, the ambassador specified that if, for Belgium, it “is of great interest for reasons that we can understand, for Morocco, it is a place of worship like the others ”, noting that“ in Brussels alone, there are dozens of mosques built, managed, financed and populated mainly by faithful of Moroccan origin ”.

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“I do not understand why Morocco would make this ordinary place of worship a point of fixation”, he hammered, noting that “for those who see the hand of Morocco everywhere, all the mosques said to be of Moroccan obedience and which number in the hundreds in Belgium are financed and managed entirely by the faithful. Morocco does not pay a single euro neither for buildings nor for imams ”.

Mr. Ameur specified in this sense that what is targeted in “these senseless attacks” is more “the presence of Moroccans and especially the links with their spiritual sources”.

“The Moroccan community, like all religious communities in Belgium, has the right to preserve links with its spiritual sources, like Catholic Christians, Jews, Protestants, Anglicans etc.”, explained the ambassador, wondering why do we challenge Moroccans to what is acquired and sanctified for others?

He indicated that “Muslim Moroccans who live in Morocco as well as those who live abroad are the heirs of the Islam of the Enlightenment of Andalusia of which they were the promoters: an Islam that listens to the cultural context and social and compatible with the values ​​of modern society ”, noting that the Belgians who go to Morocco en masse know and appreciate this cultural reality.

In this context, Mr. Ameur underlined that “the presence of certain small groups who advocate deviationist and dangerous Islamism should not lead to discrediting the vast majority of Muslims who only seek to live in peace with their environment and their families. spiritual sources ”.

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Issues related to Islam and integration, he said, “are very sensitive and extremely complex. We must avoid making it an object of controversy which resurfaces from time to time through the media ”.

“These are serious subjects which deserve appropriate treatment and a serene and peaceful debate, in mutual respect and fruitful cooperation,” he added.

The ambassador also affirmed that “if there is a pressure which the Moroccan community undergoes permanently and which wreaks havoc among the young generations, it is the exclusive speech which challenges people to claim their double. belonging: their pride in being Belgians and deeply attached to their Moroccan roots ”.

The pressure, added Mr. Ameur, “is also this recurring discourse on the failure of integration, while the process of rooting at work for generations makes Belgium a model of integration. success. This is evidenced by the remarkable place Belgian-Moroccans occupy in all areas of life in Belgium ”.

It is moreover this inescapable human, cultural and sociological reality, he explained, which led Morocco to initiate a new approach with regard to communities established abroad and which consists in “supporting the ‘rooting without uprooting “.

Attachment to cultural and spiritual sources, Mr. Ameur said, is a factor of stability and integration.

And to add that today there are two approaches with regard to communities of foreign origin: an exclusive and conflictual approach which confuses integration and assimilation and which seeks to highlight everything that divides and that cultivates tension. and feeds mistrust and suspicion. It is an approach inhabited by an obsession with instrumentalization and conspiracy.

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The other approach, continued the ambassador, is more realistic and which does not see in individuals manipulable objects that we could control remotely, but a real shared heritage in the service of the interests of the two countries, a chance for consolidate the links between the two Kingdoms and build an exceptional partnership.

The history of relations between the two countries, their cultural and human ties and the multiple challenges they face, are all elements that let us predict the future with more serenity and confidence, he concluded. .

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