The Islamwatch website being launched today by Flemish nationalists aims to report, map and monitor the gradual ‘Islamisation’ of Flanders.
The populist Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest – VB) party is today launching the Islamwatch website in Belgium. The party is a member of Marine Le Pen’s political block in the European Parliament, the Europe of Nations and Freedom Group.
According to VB’s press release the aim of the new online platform is to monitor the Islamisation of the country through the submission of reports of such signs as a new neighbourhood mosque, active Islamic organisations, a newly-opened halal butcher’s shop, sex-segregated swimming, or veiled shop assistants and teachers.
“It is important that these facts are recorded and mapped,” said leading VB Member of Parliament Filip Dewinter (pictured), “that way we can see how the Islamisation of our cities and communities is evolving and growing to then respond appropriately.”
Mr. Dewinter also identified Belgium’s “open borders policy” and extremely lax attitude towards defending cultural values and norms as reasons for terrorism in his country, adding:
“Without mass immigration no Islamisation, without Islamisation no Islamic terror.”
The website has been criticised by anti-racism campaigners, according to EurActiv. The European Network Against Racism (ENAR), which represents 150 groups from across the European Union (EU) described it as a “denunciation website” and said it was illegal under Belgian and EU rules proscribing discrimination and incitement to hatred. ENAR said:
“This is a deliberate call to hatred and stigmatisation of the European Muslim community, at a time when we urgently need to encourage dialogue and unity.
“We call on the Belgian government to take all necessary measures to take down this website, which violates EU and Belgian laws prohibiting incitement to hatred and discrimination…
“…Encouraging surveillance and denunciation of religious practices will foster a climate of suspicion against Muslim communities and fuel an escalation of violent incidents targeting Muslims or those perceived as such.”
This is the second monitoring website launched by VB. In 2012, it unveiled a site for reporting crimes committed by ‘illegal’ migrants.