Belgian Intel Uncovers Homophobia, anti-Semitism at Brussels’ Great Mosque

The Great Mosque has been training imams (Muslim prayer leaders) destined to lead mosques around Europe in Jew-hatred, preparation for armed jihad and the need to persecute members of the LGBT community

Muslims pray at the Brussels' Great Mosque in Brussels, Belgium, January 19, 2018
\ YVES HERMAN/ REUTERS

An official Belgian intelligence report leaked to the media discloses that Brussels’ Great Mosque, a Saudi-affiliated institution situated not far from the major European Union headquarters institutions, has been teaching hatred of Jews and homosexuals.

This appears in a report submitted this week to the Belgian parliament by the Belgian federal anti-terrorism agency, the Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis. Despite its release around the time that President Donald Trump announced the American withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear agreement, the report has been a major story in the Belgian media.

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It turns out that the Great Mosque, the large and impressive house of worship visible to anyone going from the Brussels airport to the European Quarter – the Brussels neighborhood that is home to the headquarters of the European Union – has been training imams (Muslim prayer leaders) destined to lead mosques around Europe in Jew-hatred, preparation for armed jihad and the need to persecute members of the LGBT community, among other precepts.

The report, which was labeled confidential, was leaked to the Belgian dailies La Libre and DH and to the Belgian RTL broadcaster, and has since been quoted in other media outlets. The report was the result of research by Belgian intelligence officials. Since the terrorist attacks in March 2016 at Brussels airport and on a Metro underground line in the European Quarter that killed 32 people, Belgian intelligence forces have been spurred to work with greater diligence and have finally received the backing of Belgian authorities.

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It’s not clear who obtained the course materials from Brussels’ Great Mosque or how they copied curriculum materials and books used for instruction. The resulting report, which is about 40 pages long and relates to the years 2016 and 2017, was submitted to a parliamentary committee following up on the lessons drawn from the 2016 attacks. The committee scheduled a closed-door meeting for Wednesday of this week to discuss the report.

“The religious studies conducted at the Great Mosque are not consistent with Belgian or European frameworks. They are based on Salafi doctrine inciting opposition to any other idea and to all of Belgium’s fundamental constitutional rights,” the report states. One of the books used in courses at the mosque (and which, according to the researchers, was also used by leaders of Al Qaida) states: “Armed jihad is the highest path through which to get close to Allah and the most noble expression of Muslim faith.”

Another publication used for instruction, entitled “The Way of the Muslim,” describes Jews as “treacherous, unreliable and swindling, indecent and insolent, cruel and insensitive, greedy people who use violence, force and terror to control the world.” When it comes to members of the LGBT community, the textbook suggests three ways of dealing with them: “Stoning, burning at the stake or finding a tall building in town and throwing them off the roof head first.”

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Brussels’ Great Mosque is the most striking Muslim building in the city and also houses the Islamic Cultural Center of Belgium. It’s situated at the edge of Cinquantenaire Park, which was created to mark Belgium’s 50th anniversary in 1880. It is near the Royal Military Museum and at the entrance to the European Quarter, the neighborhood that is home to the institutions of the European Union, including the European Parliament, and a large number of diplomatic offices of countries from around the world. The mosque is in a prime location in every respect.

The building housing it was erected for the major Belgian national exposition that was held in 1880. Following the exposition, no permanent use was found for the building and it began to deteriorate in the face of high maintenance costs. In 1967, during a visit to the Belgian capital by the king of Saudi Arabia at the time, Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Belgian King Baudouin, in an effort to address those opposed to tearing it down and those who were concerned about the high cost of maintaining it, offered the building to the Saudi king as a gift.

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Two years later, an agreement was signed granting the Saudi government a 99-year lease on the building, and at Saudi expense it was renovated, becoming the home of the Great Mosque of Brussels and an Islamic cultural and educational center.

In recent years, however, against the backdrop of Islamic terrorism, reports began leaking out suggesting that extremist activity was being conducted from the mosque, a facility that continued to receive financial and other support from the Saudi government. The Saudis sent a steady stream of teachers and textbooks to the mosque and were involved in the activities conducted there.

The 2016 terrorist attacks in Brussels focused attention on these activities. Imams who had been trained there were found to be preaching jihad elsewhere in Belgium. An investigative panel convened following the terrorist attacks recommended reconsidering the mosque’s status. As a result, the Belgian government ultimately decided to breach the lease with the Saudi government with a year’s advance notice. Thus, as of March 2019, oversight of the mosque will be transferred to Belgian Muslim organizations.