Belgium ends Saudi mosque lease, citing ‘foreign interference’ and extremism

Source: The Washington Post

 March 19 
The Belgian government has decided to terminate the long-term lease of the country’s largest and oldest mosque to the Saudi royal family, as part of what officials say is an effort to combat radicalization.


The move caps a long-running discussion about what to do about the Grand Mosque of Brussels, a sprawling complex in the heart of the city where worshipers mix with bureaucrats and diplomats headed to the nearby glassy office buildings of the European Union. The mosque, administered by Saudi-backed imams, has been a target of Belgian security services for years. But after radicalized Belgians emerged as key players in terrorist attacks in France and Brussels in 2015 and 2016, policymakers felt new urgency to take action.

Belgian King Baudouin signed over the mosque for 99 years, rent-free, to Saudi King Faisal in 1969 as a goodwill gesture, which also secured cheaper oil for the European nation.

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