Belgium has withdrawn the residence permit of the head imam of the country’s largest mosque. That reports the Flemish broadcaster VRT. It concerns the Moroccan imam Mohamed Toujgani of the Al Khalil mosque in Molenbeek in Brussels. State Secretary Mahdi for Asylum and Migration withdrew his residence permit in October last year, but the news was only announced today.
According to the state secretary, information from the national security services showed that Toujgani posed a serious threat to national security. The Belgian government does not want to give further details about this, but the VRT reports that Toujgani is also associated with espionage for the Moroccan government.
Toujgani is chairman of an organization that brings Moroccan imams together in Belgium. That association would in turn be linked to the Moroccan government, spreading extremism and engaged in espionage.
Send out signal
According to experts, Toujgani belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood, which in the longer term strives for a gradual Islamization of society. The Belgian intelligence and security service previously stated that the Muslim Brothers “create a climate of segregation and polarization, which can be fertile ground for (violent) radicalization”.
Toujgani had been in Belgium for almost forty years, but would not speak the Dutch or French language. He was discredited in 2019 when a video of him surfaced in which he called for the burning of “Zionists”. He later apologized for this.
“There have been far too many hate preachers in the past who have been given the space to spread and defend their ideas,” said Secretary of State Mahdi. “Toujgani was perhaps one of the most influential among them. With this we want to send a signal. Anyone who sows hatred, divides our society and poses a threat to our security is not welcome in our country. Not today, nor in the coming years.” .”
Toujgani has been banned for ten years and is no longer in Belgium. The imam’s lawyer says he wants to challenge the decision, although the appeal deadlines have expired. He also has a wife and children in Belgium.