BRUSSELS, Feb 12, (KUNA): The Saudi Embassy in Brussels has rejected recent Belgian media reports claiming that the Saudi-financed Islamic Culture, also known as the Great Mosque in the Belgian capital, is preaching radicalism and extremism ideas in the country. “Despite much rumour and ugly political rhetoric, the Belgian Government itself found that there was not a trace of extremism to be found at the Great Mosque of Brussels when it conducted its investigation last year,” said a Saudi Arabian embassy press release Saturday night.
It said that this was recognised by Belgian Ministers of the Interior and Justice, Jan Jambon and Koen Geens, who confirmed that the Great Mosque of Brussels neither preaches nor encourages any form of radicalism, and noted that the mosque and its financing are also regularly vetted. “Try to find a single Saudifunded Islamic centre preaching hate and you will fail.
The Kingdom itself has always dismissed any imam from its mosques for intolerance. We will do everything in our power to stamp out extremist rhetoric wherever we have influence, and we urge authorities in Belgium to do the same,” stressed the press release. “It is a deeply embedded misconception about Saudi Arabia that does not reflect the reality on the ground. Saudi Arabia does not fund or support any radical institution in Belgium or any other country. The Kingdom is a pioneer in addressing the problem of radicalisation and terrorism at its root; a fact that all too often goes unacknowledged,” it said.
“Saudi Arabia has consistently made its position clear: the Kingdom condemns terrorism in all its forms,” it said. It noted that “Saudi Arabia has too often fallen victim to the same kind of attacks that have afflicted Europe in recent years, attacks that seek to destabilize our countries and terrorize our citizens.
In response, the Saudi leadership has long been at the frontline of fighting terrorism, and has taken a series of concrete actions to counter this very real threat.”
On the international stage, Saudi Arabia works together with its partners, including the Belgian and European authorities, to combat terrorism, its funding and the extremist ideologies at its source, said the Embassy press release. It cited as an example Centre for Dialogue in Vienna which is intergovernmental centre of exchange which was set up by Saudi Arabia to promote justice, peace and reconciliation, and counteract the misuse of religion to justify violence.
Furthermore, the centre played a pivotal role in founding the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre with a contribution of $110 million that has strengthened the activities of Member States in confronting the extremist ideology that feeds terrorism.
The Kingdom actively seeks to encourage dialogue between followers of different religions and cultures in order to promote harmony between them, it said. “Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam — a religion of peace. We see it as our duty to stop our faith from being so gruesomely distorted by a deeply misguided extremist minority, and to protect ourselves from their depraved actions,” it added.