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HomeE.U.The Belgian Muslim community appealed to the ECHR against contradictory regulations

The Belgian Muslim community appealed to the ECHR against contradictory regulations

Organisations representing the Muslim community in Belgium have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against a law adopted in the Flemish region. They consider that it violates freedom of religion and worship.

The Belgian Religious Foundation notes that the petition was filed under the auspices of the Belgian Islamic Coordination Council, which includes the Federation of Albanian Mosques of Belgium, the Belgian Muslim Union and the Belgian Islamic Federation.

The Flemish law was adapted in October 2021. It includes “provisions on the recognition of local religious communities, on the duties of religious authorities, on the control of these duties, and on the material organisation and functioning of recognised places of worship”.

The new law was challenged in the Constitutional Court. The objections were found to be justified on the grounds that the law violates the freedom of religion and worship. The Court ruled that Articles 7, 9, 16 and 17 of the law were invalidated because these provisions contravened freedom of religion and worship.

The top court said it was overturning laws that prohibited places of worship from establishing direct or indirect relations with an organisation of another country, from receiving direct or indirect funding from another country, and clerics from receiving salaries from another country.

However, organisations representing the Muslim community have complained to the ECHR about the articles that have not been repealed, citing that they constitute “legal insecurity”. The articles also include clauses that include a ban on mosque imams from being members of associations with other countries and control of religious communities.

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