(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) BRUSSELS, March 15 (KUNA) -- The Executive of Belgium Muslims (EMB) and Coordination Council of Muslim Institutions of Belgium (CIB) Friday expressed their shock over the horrendous attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and called on Belgian authorities to protect Islamic places of worship in Belgium.
"We have observed for a long time now the rise but also and unfortunately the trivialization of hatred against Muslims, a hatred that is expressed at all levels: political, intellectual , media and even in the art, " the two organisations said in a joint statement.
They stressed that "time has finally come for anti-Muslim hatred to be criminalized in our European laws in the same way as anti-Semitism and anti-racist laws." "The terrorist act is not isolated geographically. Its author, who acted with petrifying composure, seems to have forged ideological links with his counterparts in Europe and elsewhere. As a result, the Belgian state should take serious and compelling measures to protect Muslim places of worship in order to avoid the worst," it said.
EMB and CIB urged all Muslims in Belgium to be extremely cautious especially when close to mosques and Muslim cultural associations and called on officials, intellectuals, clerics, artists to come out and denounce this evil gangrene of Islamophobia that threatens humanity.
Meanwhile, a book of concolence has been opened at Brussels Town Hall so that citizens in Brussels show their solidarity to the families of the victims of the Chirstchurch attack.
The Mayor of Brussels Philippe Close has also expressed his sympathies with the victims of the attack.
"All our thoughts are with those who have been touched by this act of nameless barbarism," said Close.
An estimated 700,000 Muslims, mainly from Morocco and Turkey, live in Belgium which has a population of around 11 million. (end) nk.sd