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Belgian justice minister orders close scrutiny of Diyanet mosques amid spying claims

Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens

Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens has announced that he has ordered security and intelligence units in the country to closely monitor mosques operated by the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate, or Diyanet, amid reports that the Diyanet asked imams to spy and inform on Belgians of Turkish origin suspected of being active in the faith-based Gülen movement.

A document dated Sept. 20, 2016 shows that Turkey’s Diyanet asked Turkish missions and religious representatives abroad to profile Gülen movement expatriates living in their respective foreign countries.

“We request that you send a detailed report about all FETÖ/PDY [a derogatory term coined by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to refer to members of the Gülen movement] networks, activities, educational institutions [kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, faculties, dormitories, etc.] NGOs, aid organizations, human resources, associations that host cultural activities, etc., to by Sept. 27, 2016,” said a document sent to Turkish embassies, consulates and Office of Religious Services counselors, attachés, coordinators and coordinators of religious officials’ directors.

According to the document, profiling reports were asked to be ready for presentation to religious leaders who were participating in the 9th Eurasia Islamic Council, organized by the Diyanet in İstanbul on Oct. 11-14.

In the meantime, Flemish minister Liesbeth Homans has recently asked for the closure of Diyanet mosques that are involved in spying activities against the followers of the Gülen movement.

There are currently 65 mosques in Belgium operated by the Diyanet.

The Turkish government pinned the blame for a July 15 coup attempt on the movement, while the latter has denied any involvement. Meanwhile, discriminatory practices and hate crimes against movement followers have surged since the putsch.

Officials, religious coordinators and religious services counselors in Turkish mosques in a number of countries have prepared 50 reports on the activities of movement-linked schools, businesses, foundations, associations and media outlets.

The media earlier reported that sympathizers of the Gülen movement were even denied entry to mosques in Europe.

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