Two Muslim candidates vowed to establish an Islamic state in Belgium based on Sharia law, after winning local elections in Brussels two weeks ago.
Air Jeddig L’Houcine and Redouane Ahrough, both from the fledgling Islam Party, handily won seats in two major districts of the Belgian capital Brussels, Molenbeek and Anderlecht, respectively. The election was held on October 14.
“Islam is compatible with the laws of the Belgian people,” the two councilors assured skeptics during an October 25 press conference in a tea room in Brussels.
“As elected Muslims, we embrace the Quran. We consider Islam as a universal religion. Our presence at the council gives us the opportunity to express ourselves,” Ahrough told reporters.
A transcript of the press conference shows the candidates praised Islam as having “allowed the emergence of European civilization” while insisting their faith has evolved into something compatable with coservative-libertarian ideology.
While the Muslim faith respects the privacy of individuals (“a man who lives with another man, that is their business, they do what they want”), it also upholds traditional family values (“when you touch the right to child is serious, ethically serious! [....] The child has the right to have a mother and a father man and woman”), the candidates contended.
But an Islam Party campaign flier distributed during the election shows its ultimate goal is to establish the main tenants of Sharia law in their districts. The top three platforms listed were to establish Halal meals in cafeterias, government recognition of Muslim holidays, and allowing the hijab to be worn publicly.
During a political run ten years ago, Ahrough distributed a 40-point platform that included bringing back capital punishment, legalizing teen marriage, severity towards divorce, and a ban on mixing of the sexes in public places – all key points of Sharia law.
Not only did Ahrough not denounce his old agenda last week, he said it was still the same, with the ultimate goal of creating an Islamic state based on Sharia law in Belgium.
“The agenda is still the same, in fact, but our approach is different now,” Ahrough said. “I think we have to sensitize people, make them understand what the advantages are to having Islamic people and Islamic laws. And then it will be completely natural to have Islamic laws and we will become and Islamic state.”
“Why not? In Belgium?,” a stunned reporter asked.
“In Belgium, of course!,” he replied.
“The Sharia, I am for it,” Ahrough went on to say. “Islamic law, I am for it. It is a long term struggle. It is going to take decades, maybe a whole century, but the movement has started.”
The campaign also raised charges of anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism, according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency. Yves Goldstein of the Socialist Party was singled out as “an active Zionist and enemy of Islam” in a Turkish-language pamphlet. An e-mail was also distributed telling voters that casting their ballots for Goldstein and the Socialist Party would be like “stabbing Palestinians in the back.”
A 2008 study showed that 6-percent of the Belgian population, about 628,751, is Muslim. Muslims construct 25.5-percent of the population of Brussels, 3.9-percent of Flanders, and 4.0-percent of Wallonia.