Belgian imam cites Quran quote calling to murder Jews in the middle of parliament

By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Last week, an imam in Belgium recited a passage from the Quran in the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region, with the passage widely believed to call Muslims to kill Jews. Many MPs expressed their outrage at the imam’s presence in parliament, and Israel’s ambassador to Belgium was horrified to hear that such a verse was shared with lawmakers.

The except from the Quran refers to Al-Ahzab sura, chapter 33:26, which translates to read: “And He brought down those from the People of the Book who supported the enemy alliance from their own strongholds, and cast horror into their hearts. You believers killed some, and took others captive.”

The Quran often refers to the Jews as the “People of the Book,” and scholars believe this excerpt calls upon Muslims to kill Jews.

Tuesday’s event was not organized by the parliament, but at the initiative of Hasan Koyuncu, a Socialist Party MP who also serves as the vice-president of the Francophone Parliament in Brussels and the Brussels Friends Association.

MEP Theo Francken, who has been critical of the organizer of the event, wrote on X earlier on Twitter: “This man invited this imam. This is the vice-president of the parliament. How can it stay like this?”

MP Darya Safai recalled her own detention in Tehran in response to the imam’s presence in parliament: “We woke up every morning in the Ayatollahs’ prison with the same chants as here in the Brussels Parliament, we had to pray the same words in our cells, and at the same time several Iranians were hanged to set an example to others.”

“I managed to escape from that prison alive, unlike many others, and I am even more shocked to hear the same thing here in Belgium, 24 years later, in the heart of Western democracy.”

Nawal Ben Hamou, secretary ofsState of the Brussels region, left the event in response to the incident.

Israel’s ambassador to Belgium, Idit Rosenzweig, said on X that he was “absolutely horrified” by what had happened, writing: “He could have chosen anything other than a scary symbolic message to people who know the Quran straight from the podium of the parliament… in the Brussels parliament, a city of 18,000 Jews who are already experiencing heightened anti-Semitism and fear”

Parliament President Rachid Madrane reacted to the incident on X, writing, “Parliament is nothing but a temple of democracy. I will remind the organizer of the visit and the group leaders of this, and I will propose that respect for neutrality be explicitly included in the parliamentary rules.”

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