Belgium: Court blocks anti-Islam demo

Brussels, 30 August (AKI) - A Belgian appeals court has upheld the ban of an anti-Islam protest planned for 11 September in Belgium's capital - the sixth anniversary of al-Qaeda's attacks against US cities on 11 September, 2001.

The organisers of the planned 'Stop the Islamisation of Europe' protest (SOIE) failed to prove the ban causes them "irreparable damage," Belgium's Council of State, an administrative appeals court, ruled late Wednesday.

Europeans who oppose what they call the 'Islamisation' of Europe announced in July their intention to hold the protest outside the European Parliament building in Brussels. But the city's mayor Freddy Thielemans earlier this month banned the demonstration, saying it could spark clashes with the Muslim community.

Ugo Ulfkotte, one of the organisers of the planned protest then appealed against Thielemans' ban.

SOIE includes the Danish anti-Islam protest party SIAD , the Dutch group 'No Sharia Here' and the German anti-Muslim group Pax Europa. SOIE also has support from Belgium's far-right Vlaams Belang party.

It calls itself "an alliance of people across Europe with the single aim of preventing Islam becoming a dominant political force in Europe."

Since 2001, Thielemans has approved more than 3,500 demonstrations in Brussels and banned six, including SOIE's.


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