Belgium to expel Turkish imam after 'homophobic' posts

Belgium to expel Turkish imam after 'homophobic' posts
Belgium is expelling a Turkish imam after he posted comments judged to be homophobic on social media.
1 min read
The Imam is thought to have served in Yesil Camii mosque [Getty]

Belgium is ordering a Turkish imam to leave the country after he posted comments judged homophobic on social media, officials said Thursday.

The imam, working in a mosque in northern Belgium, has had his residency permit renewal request denied and been given 30 days to leave, the government said.

"As an imam you have an exemplary role, especially if you have been granted the right to work in Belgium. Whoever refuses to respect our values must suffer the consequences," the junior minister for migration, Sammy Mahdi, said in a statement.

The decision was made mid-December and confirmed after immigration officials spoke with the imam in mid-January. It can be appealed.

The government statement said the imam, whom it did not identify, had published "hateful messages to the LGBT community", notably on Facebook.

The reactions pointed to "incitement to hate", it said.

A source close to the case said the imam served in the Yesil Camii mosque catering to a Turkish community in Houthalen-Helchteren, in the Flemish region of Limbourg.

It had been receiving public funding because it was listed by the region as a recognised place of worship, but local authorities are seeking to suspend it from that list.

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