Anti-Semitic imam barred from attending Islamic conference in Belgium

Cnaan Liphshiz

BRUSSELS (JTA) — An imam from Kuwait was barred from entering Belgium to attend an Islamic conference over his preaching in favor of Israel’s destruction and the annihilation of Jews.

Banning Tarek al-Swaidan from entering Belgium “was the only possible decision,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said in a statement Tuesday. “This preacher makes unacceptable anti-Semitic statements. His presence in Belgium would represent a danger to public order.”

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The Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA, alerted the government last month plans to host al-Swaidan, a leader of Kuwait’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, at the Muslim Forum of Brussels on Nov. 7, and asked he be barred from entering the kingdom.

“An open anti-Semite, he declared only last July that the State of Israel must be destroyed along with all the Jews,” the LBCA statement said.

The statement, which was sent to reporters and supporters, includes a collection of links to YouTube videos of Swaidan’s sermons. In one he is seen saying, “Every Muslim mother raised her children on hate for the sons of Zion so that a new generation would rise to sweep them off the face of the earth.”

In a statement on Tuesday, LBCA praised the government’s decision, adding it showed “the government takes seriously its duties to ensure public order, and employs tough measures to do so,” the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA, said in a statement Wednesday.

In May, four people were killed during an armed attack on the Jewish Museum of Belgium in central Brussels. French and Belgian security services believe the shooter was Mehdi Nemmouche, a French Sunni Muslim who is believed to have fought with other jihadists in Syria.

Nemmouche, who is standing trial in Belgium after being caught in southern France with an automatic rifle, has denied the allegations.