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Great Mosque imam’s residency permit reinstated by court

18:07 28/11/2017

Despite the best efforts of federal migration minister Theo Francken, the imam of the Great Mosque in Brussels will be allowed to stay in the country. Francken said last month that he was withdrawing Abdelhadi Sewif’s residency permit, but the Foreign Disputes Council has ruled in favour of Sewif (pictured).

Francken had made the decision to retract Sewif’s permission to stay in Belgium, and Sewif took the matter to the council, an independent court that decides on appeals against decisions taken by the Immigration Department or other migration authorities.

Francken said last month that Belgian security had “very clear” signals that “he is a follower of Salafism, radicalised, very conservative and dangerous to our society and our national security”. The Foreign Disputes Council overturned Francken’s decision based on a lack of evidence, it said.

‘Mere guesses’

According to its policy, the decision to refuse or retract residency must specify exactly how the personal conduct of the person ‘constitutes a current, real and sufficiently serious threat which is a fundamental interest to society. A public policy argument cannot be based on mere guesses or on general reflections’.

In the case of Sewif, said the council in a statement, “the general argument about the influence of Salafism is not enough to indicate concretely why the personal behaviour of this imam constitutes a ‘current, real and sufficiently serious threat that affects a fundamental interest of society’.”

Photo courtesy BX1

Written by Lisa Bradshaw