In Flanders, In , a new political party named "Islam" was established with four candidates, which at the local elections of gained 2 seats, in the Molenbeek and Anderlecht districts of Brussels. Its policies include men and women to be separated on public transport, schools to be forced to offer halal meat and forcing the wearing of headscarves.
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In , Islam was recognised as one of the subsidised religions in Belgium and the Muslim Executive of Belgium was founded in In , the Belgian department of justice commenced an investigation into the finances of mosques in Belgium and stated this was a priority. In December , the Belgian government said it was considering a ban on the wearing of any conspicuous religious symbols for civil servants. In June , the Antwerp court of appeal ruled that it was outside the jurisdiction of the state to determine whether Islam requires women to wear a headscarf and that girls in public schools have the right to do so.
However, the school board also has the authority to restrict that right for organisational reasons, or for the good functioning of the school, though it must justify any such restrictions.
At the end of , approximately twenty municipalities had issued a ban on walking the streets completely veiled. A veil which does not completely cover the body is however allowed. Two Belgian Muslim women, Samia Belcacemi and Yamina Oussar, challenged a veil ban, asserting the law infringed on their freedom of religion. Both women said they voluntarily wore the niqab. In , the European Court of Human Rights found that Belgium's ban on clothes that partially or fully cover the face in public was legal under the European Convention on Human Rights , " necessary in a democratic society ," and that the law tried to protect "the rights and freedoms of others.
Ousser told the court that she had decided to stay at home and not go out in public anymore following the ban. In , the State Security Service listed organisations in Belgium which promoted Salafist ideology including mosques, community centers and educational establishments. These represented a minority in the Muslim community.
Salafist ideology is considered extremist in Belgium. The security service also noted that espousing Salafist ideology does not imply involvement or support for terrorism. In March Alain Winants, the head of State Security Service in Belgium, estimated there were jihadist sympathizers in the country, of which about were hardcore supporters.
In March , the head of the security services stated that about a dozen had travelled to fight in jihadist groups overseas. Moroccan-born IS recruiter Khalid Zerkani recruited 72 young individuals with migrant backgrounds of whom most were petty criminals.
He encouraged them to steal from non-Muslims in order to finance their journeys to join the caliphate. Up to , an estimated individuals had travelled from Belgium to join the civil war in Syria and Iraq. On 30 September , a Belgian court convicted 18 men for involvement in a terror cell. Tarek Maaroufi , of the Tunisian Combat Group , was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in a Brussels-based fake passport ring that supplied fake Belgian passports to the men who assassinated former Afghan Northern Alliance commander Ahmed Shah Massoud two days before the 11 September attacks.
In October , a Belgian court sentenced eight Sunni Islamic militants to prison terms of up to 5 years for plotting attacks and for links to Al Qaeda. According to prosecutors, Saber Mohammed received three phone calls from senior Al Qaeda figure Khalid Sheikh Mohammed , which he was believed to be forwarding for colleagues. On 24 May , the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels was attacked in an act linked to terrorism, with four casualties.
On 14 November Belgian police arrested 'several people' after searches linked to the attacks in Paris ,   more arrests expected as links to terrorists Investigation continues. In July , courts announced that Belgium had no obligation to bring children of Belgian Islamic State members to Belgium. On the morning of Tuesday, 22 March , three coordinated nail bombings occurred in Belgium : two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem , and one at Maalbeek metro station in Brussels. In these attacks, 35 victims and three suicide bombers were killed, and people were injured.
The Belgian government declared three days of national mourning. One of the perpetrators had right-wing extremist affiliations. It lists its goal as "promot[ing] a multicultural society by fighting against discrimination and stereotypes, in particular against Muslim veiled women. Similarly, the "Open Job Testing" project, backed by Brussels MP Didier Gosuin, was launched by CCIB in October with aims to address the obstacles to employment faced by individuals when accessing the job market and compile statistical evidence pertaining to discrimination in the labour market. Following the passage of Executive Order by U.
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Belgium portal Islam portal. The Oxford Handbook of European Islam. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 21 April Retrieved 20 April BBC News. Archived from the original on 1 July Retrieved 28 April The Independent. Archived from the original on 29 April Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. United States Department of State. Archived PDF from the original on 25 October Retrieved 1 October The New York Times.
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