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Belgium expels Moroccan imam

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Mohamed Toujgani, a Moroccan imam, had his right to stay in Belgium withdrawn in October, considered to be “ a threat to national security », in particular for having called for « burn jews in a video, the government said last week. Information revealed by the Flemish public channel VRT and confirmed by the Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Sammy Mahdi.

The video in question resurfaced in 2019, VRT said. At the time, Mohamed Toujgani apologized for these comments, referring to “ a skid “linked to” the war carried out by Israel against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In the video, the imam invokes God: Lord, Master of the Worlds, pour fear into the hearts of the oppressing Zionists. […] Lord, let the blood of the martyrs be a weapon under the feet of the Zionist oppressors, and let this blood be a blazing fire that burns them and a wind that chastises them. […] O Lord, tear them down “. A speech summarized today by Sammy Mahdi as an incitement to burn the Jews.

“Extremism” and “interference”

This ban on residence, for ” extremism ” and “ interference “, covers a period of ten years, specified the Secretary of State. Mohammed Toujgani, who until last year preached at the Al-Khalil mosque in Molenbeek, one of the largest Muslim places of worship in Belgium, had his residence permit withdrawn “on October 12” 2021, State services said in a statement.

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To explain this expulsion, the Belgian media also evoke a “signal” sent to Morocco, accused of interference and espionage, in particular in the project to take over the Great Mosque of Brussels. According to the Belgian State Security services, quoted by the media, Mohammed Toujgani is one of the collaborators of the Moroccan State suspected of espionage. ” Yes, there is an order to leave the territory and a ban on returning to Belgian territory for 10 years. I think it’s important to ensure that we live in a world where we are safe and where outside influences are minimized. », was limited to declare the Secretary of State Sammy Mahdi.

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Suspicions of jihadist recruitment

Since the announcement of his expulsion, other elements have been made public, indicating that the imam of Molenbeek would not have limited himself to inflammatory remarks about the Jews. According to the Flemish media Het Laatste Nieuws (HLN), this decision was also motivated by a police report dating from 2007, a confidential document from the anti-terrorist division of the Brussels judicial police on the links between Belgian jihadist circles and Spaniards.

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According to HLN, this document contains the testimony of a repentant jihadist describing to the Spanish Civil Guard how people were recruited in Belgium to go and fight in Iraq under the banner of Al-Qaida. He designates a certain mohamed tozgane like the third head of the network, responsible for the Al-Khalil mosque in Molenbeek. The Belgian police concluded that it was Toujgani.

Extreme opinions

The Flemish media Bruzz evokes, for its part, the decision of a French-speaking court of first instance which had to rule on the authorization or not of Toujgani to become a Belgian citizen; a request submitted by the imam to the municipality of Molenbeek at the end of 2019 when he does not speak, as the law requires, neither Flemish nor French. In its judgment, the court indicates that, if the sermons of the imam seem moderate, he nevertheless diffuses more extreme opinions in restricted circles.

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According to this same court, Toujgani also maintains contacts with extremist personalities, in particular with people convicted abroad for attacks. According to Bruzz, the preacher Abu Qatada, who maintains links with Al-Qaeda, or Mohamed Fizazi, imprisoned for 30 years before being pardoned for the attacks in Casablanca, would be among these contacts.

A “current, real and serious danger”

This is'” a strictly private matter on which our institution has no comment to make “, reacted the Executive of the Muslims of Belgium (EMB), representative body and interlocutor of the Belgian State for the management of the Muslim worship. The EMB underlined, in a press release published on its website, that it had ” no authority link with imams not attached to subsidized mosques “.

Secretary of State Sammy Mahdi, for his part, drove home the point before the House of Representatives: ” The security services believe that this man must be considered a current, real and serious danger to national security. We are talking here about extremism and interference. »

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