A Turkish imam is facing deportion by Belgian immigration authorities due to a social media post that was found to be homophobic.
The imam, who was appoined by Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (also known as Diyanet) to lead prayers for the Green Mosque in Houthalen-Helchteren, Linburg, is to be deported from Belgium for claiming on social media that “homosexuality is a disease, causes decay and is banned by Islam”, reported BBC Türkçe.
Belgium authorities cancelled the residential permit of the imam over his allegedly homophobic statements. Sammy Mahdi, the Belgian Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration, announced that the residence permit of the Imam, who has been in Belgium for three years, was rejected. ”We can no longer tolerate stigmatizing the gay community and spreading such hate speeches”, the Belgian Minister said.
In terms of the charges levelled against him, the imam reportedly agreed with and thanked another Facebook user who shared the following comment to his post: “Homosexuality is a virus of capitalism and democracy”. In the post, the imam also referred to a Friday sermon by the President of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, Ali Erbaş, who had previously caused a dispute over the country following his statement that “Islam curses homosexuality”.