Belgian imams can now receive salaries from abroad, says Belgian Constitutional Court
Court rules that Flemish region decree prohibiting direct or indirect support or financing to places of worship from abroad violated Constitution
By Omer Tugrul Cam
BRUSSELS (AA) - Belgium’s top court has issued a decision opening the way for Muslim imams in the country's Flemish region to get salaries from abroad and similar arrangements.
In October 2021, a decree was issued in the Flemish region prohibiting direct or indirect support or financing to places of worship from abroad – including the payment of salaries to imams working in mosques – as being in violation of the Constitution and religious freedom.
The Belgian Islamic Coordination Council, represented by several local Muslim groups, challenge the decree at the Constitutional Court, which Thursday overturned certain provisions of the decree, saying that they violated religious freedom.
The court ruled the provision that foreign funding and support would undermine the independence of local religious communities was not sufficiently clear and that it constituted a "disproportionate interference with freedom of worship."
The Islamic council expressed its satisfaction with the ruling.
Since the decree was issued, there have been issues regarding the recognition of mosques affiliated with the Turkish-based Belgian Diyanet (Religious Affairs) Foundation and the payment of salaries to imams.
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