THE HAGUE (JTA) — The mayor of Brussels has said that families with many children were "a problem found among Muslims, Jews and even Christians."
Speaking at a debate in Brussels on Sept. 27, Mayor Freddy Thielemans added that the city was incapable of providing housing solutions that match the demands of families with many children and that bringing into the world "so many children is irresponsible."
Methods to reduce population growth "should be a matter for discussion," he also said.
His statements have caused an uproar among fellow politicians and even members of Thielemans’ own Socialist Party.
Philippe Moureaux, the Socialist mayor of Molenbeek, reacted by writing on Twitter: "In a free society, having children is a right which cannot be up for negotiation."
Brussels has a population of 1.1 million people, according to official statistics from 2011. Research by Jan Hertogen, a well-known Belgian sociologist, showed 22 percent of the city’s population comes from Muslim homes. Approximately 20,000 to 30,000 Jews live in Brussels, according to CCOJB, the organization representing French-speaking Jews.