Belgium becomes an Islamic state

Party wants Islamic State in Belgium

Brussels - men and women separated on the bus, halal food in the school canteen and voting lists without women if possible: this is what Belgium could look like if it were up to Redouane Ahrouch. The co-founder of the Islamic party in Belgium wants a "100 percent pure Islamic state like in the time of our dear prophet Mohammed", as he told the German press agency.

He is convinced that by 2030 mainly Muslims will live in Brussels. Such statements caused a stir ahead of the local elections on Sunday. The French magazine "Causeur" described the party agenda as follows: "Replace all civil and criminal codes with Sharia law. Period." The party leadership, on the other hand, emphasizes that the Islamic State should conform to Belgian law.

Municipal council in Molenbeek

In 2012, the party moved into the municipal councils of the Brussels districts of Anderlecht and Molenbeek - the latter is considered a stronghold and retreat for radical Islamists. The terrorist Salah Abdeslam, who, according to investigative findings, was involved in the attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed in November 2015, also grew up there.

In Molenbeek and in the Brussels-City district, the Islamic party is up for election on Sunday. Ahrouch himself has been a councilor in Anderlecht so far. However, that should change shortly. Because his list of all people was not eligible for election. According to the Anderlecht administration, there were not enough valid signatures.

Dismissed as a bus driver

Ahrouch, on the other hand, sees himself as a victim of an intrigue. "I have filed all legal remedies to challenge my expulsion in Anderlecht," he said. In his opinion, the election in the district should be declared invalid.

But Ahrouch also faces headwinds outside of politics. At the beginning of May his employer, the local transport company STIB / MIVB, gave him notice. "Of course we respect freedom of speech, but we cannot accept the party's ideas on grounds of discrimination," said a company spokeswoman.

"The fight goes on"

Ahrouch was a bus driver for a quarter of a century. In response to his resignation, he wrote on Facebook that he could now devote all of his time to the Islamic liberation of his beloved people: "The fight continues."

The right-wing populist asylum state secretary Theo Francken does not want it to get that far. Regarding the idea of ​​separating men and women in local transport, the politician of the Flemish nationalist N-VA wrote on Twitter: "This is not Europe, this is spitting on Europe." The chairman of the N-VA group in parliament, Peter De Roover, also warned: "The introduction of Sharia law means that there will be no more debates."

313 members

But does the party really pose a threat to the Belgian state? "It is obvious that their ideology is based on some form of radical and fundamentalist Islam," said Dave Sinardet, professor of politics at the Free University of Brussels. The proposals therefore violate Belgium's rights and values.

The political scientist is surprised by the sudden hype. "The party suddenly became known because others publicly opposed them," he said. But it is comparatively small and unsuccessful. The party claims to have 313 members. In Sinardet's view, simply banning them is not an option anyway. "In the past, a party ban was never introduced in Belgium."

"Where will this end?"

The Belgian women's rights activist Darya Safai is extremely skeptical of the Islam party: "It starts with the separation of men and women on the bus, but where does it lead? As an activist, Safai fought against Islamism in Iran. "After my escape from Iran, I would never have thought that I would have to defend myself again years later in Europe."

The party wants to introduce Sharia law in Belgium, she said. That makes women second-class citizens. Redouane Ahrouch seems to have internalized this already. During TV appearances, he refused to shake hands with Darya Safai and State Secretary Zuhal Demir - he did not even look at them during the discussion. (APA, October 12, 2018)