VB protests new mosque in Deurne (Belgium)
5 October 2007
ANTWERP Followers of right wing party Vlaams Belang gathered on Thursday evening to protest the construction of a new mosque in the Antwerp district of Deurne. Police say about 150 people with banners and protest signs gathered at the Boterlaarbaan, the planned site for the mosque, at about 7.30 pm last night. The demonstrators left without incident at just after 8 pm.
The protestors' message was loud and clear as expressed by prominent VB member Filip Dewinter. He shouted slogans like “Adapt or go back where you came from” through a megaphone. The protest is part of a larger campaign started by the VB a few weeks ago calling for a stop to the “further Islamisation of Antwerp.” Banners with the slogans “Keep Europe European” and “Keep Muslims out” were carried as well.
“This will be the third mosque in Deurne, “says Jan Van Wesenbeeck, chairman of the Vlaams Belang in Deurne. “The permit for it was rejected by the city in 2005 but the decision was overruled by the provincial government. The city planned to appeal, but we believe the time period for that has elapsed. We fear they are just going to let it happen,” Van Wesenbeeck says.
Filip Dewinter says one third of the mosques in Flanders are in the hands of radical Muslims. The permit for the mosque on the Boterlaarbaan has been applied for by an undisclosed Islamic charitable foundation.