A mosque in Belgium could lose its access to state subsidies after its imam made a homophobic statement on social media, according to Flemish Minister Bart Somers (Open Vld).
Somers has started the procedure to strip the Yesil Camii mosque in Houthalen-Helchteren of its state recognition, which would lead the mosque to lose access to taxpayer dollars.
The decision from Somers came after the imam of the mosque posted a homophobic message on Facebook, HLN reported.
The Agency for the Interior came across the message. In the post, the imam did not hide his aversion to homosexuality. He wrote, among other things, that homosexuality brings disease and decay and in this way tried to explain why homosexuality is prohibited in Islam. The Agency then advised Somers to remove state recognition of the mosque.
“Within the mosque, statements have been made that are homophobic. They go against human rights. The consequence of this is that I have to start a procedure to cancel the recognition,” Somers told HLN.
There will be consultations with various authorities, and the mosque itself will also have the opportunity to defend itself. A decision will follow within 60 days.
The mosque may remain open in the meantime. Even if the mosque would lose its recognition, it is still permitted to stay open.
“If the recognition is withdrawn, it does not mean that the mosque will be closed. It means that there are no more subsidies from Flanders, and it means that there is a problem with the rules governing these decisions,” said Somers.
Title image: Yesil Camii mosque in Houthalen-Helchteren, Belgium (www.local-masjid.com)