BRUSSELS (JTA) — An imam from Kuwait was barred from entering Belgium to attend an Islamic conference over his preaching for Israel’s destruction and the annihilation of Jews.
Banning Tarek al-Swaidan from entering Belgium “was the only possible decision,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said in a statement Tuesday. “This preacher makes unacceptable anti-Semitic statements. His presence in Belgium would represent a danger to public order.”
In a statement the same day, The Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA, praised the decision, saying it showed “the government takes seriously its duties to ensure public order, and employs tough measures to do so.”
The LBCA had alerted the government last month of the plans to host Swaidan, a leader of Kuwait’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, at the Muslim Forum of Brussels on Nov. 7, and asked he be barred from entering the kingdom.
“An open anti-Semite, he declared only last July that the State of Israel must be destroyed along with all the Jews,” the LBCA said in a statement at the time.
The statement, which was sent to reporters and supporters, includes a collection of links to YouTube videos of Swaidan’s sermons. In one he is seen saying, “Every Muslim mother raised her children on hate for the sons of Zion so that a new generation would rise to sweep them off the face of the earth.”
In May, four people were killed in a shooting at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in central Brussels. The alleged gunman, Mehdi Nemmouche, is standing trial in Belgium. He has denied the allegations.
Nemmouche, a French Sunni Muslim, is believed to have fought with jihadists in Syria.