The Government of Flanders in Belgium requested the shutting down of the Tessenderlo Mosque affiliated with the Diyanet Foundation after an anti-LGBTI+ sermon came to light, according to reporting by BBC Turkish.
Zuhal Demir, Flemish Justice Minister, filed a criminal complaint against the Tessenderlo Mosque over “hate speech and discrimination” regarding the sermon, requesting the shutting down of all mosques affiliated with the Diyanet Foundation.
Accordingly, the VRT reported the imam at Tessenderlo Mosque said during a sermon a few months ago that ”Nowadays, not only men have sex with men, but also women have sex with women, with more people, in groups, even with animals. There is such perversion, but we do not react. We don't fight it. They impose this perversion on us, and we do not react. We cannot remain silent in the face of this perversion.”
The imam also called the LGBTI+ individuals “the children of the alphabet,” saying they “are not sick, but perverts.”
“Islam has not changed and will not change. Islam is universal. There is no such thing as European Islam,” he added.
The Interior Minister Gwendolyn Rutten initiated a probe into the Tessenderlo Mosque.
In a social media post, Rutten said promoting hatred against the LGTBI+ community “is unacceptable and punishable.”
“I ordered an investigation, but it is very clear to me. Recognizing the mosque is out of the question,” Rutten added.
Aanzetten tot haat tegen de LGTBQI+ gemeenschap kan niet door de beugel en is strafbaar.— Gwendolyn Rutten (@RuttenGwendolyn) January 26, 2024
In een preek id Diyanet Moskee in Tessenderlo werden totaal onaanvaardbare uitspraken gedaan.
Ik heb een onderzoek bevolen, maar voor mij is het helder: van erkenning kan geen sprake zijn.
Filing a criminal complaint, Demir said “If the investigation shows that such sermons were really read in these mosques, this will be another proof that the Turkish regime wants to maintain its dominance over the Belgian-Turks through Diyanet mosques.”
“These remarks seriously reduce the motivation of the forces that believe in harmony, democracy, and equality in the immigrant society,” Demir said, according to reporting from Nieuwsblad.
The Belgian Diyanet Foundation has not yet made a statement regarding the issue.
Belgian authorities take into account whether there is any foreign intervention or financial support in licensing mosques in the country.
Mosques that are not licensed or whose licenses are canceled lose their official recognition and are deprived of all kinds of state aid.