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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides an up-to-date account of the situation of Muslims in Belgium. Most Muslims in Belgium are descendants of migrant workers who came from the Mediterranean basin from the 1960s. Relations between the state and religions in Belgium are based on constitutional provisions adopted in 1831. According to recent estimates, there are 333 mosques and prayer houses in Belgium, all self-financed and with the formal legal status of non-profit associations. Classes in the Islamic religion have been organised in both Dutch- and French speaking public education since 1975. Almost all imams who officiate in the Turkish mosques have been trained in theological schools in Turkey. Muslim religious holidays are not granted any official status by the Belgian authorities but are observed by individual Muslims. The issue of wearing headscarves in school has been on the Belgian agenda since 1989 and passionate discussions continue.

Keywords: imams; mosques; Muslim religious holidays; Muslims in Belgium; religious education



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