Belgium steps up mosque surveillance

Belgian intelligence services are to investigate mosques suspected of promoting anti-Semitic and xenophobic messages, it has been revealed.

The move was announced by Equal Opportunities Minister Marie Arena, as part of a ten point government plan to combat racist violence and ideologies.

The plan was adopted on Wednesday by the the Belgian cabinet in an effort to tackle the recent rise in race-related attacks in this country.

Arena played down the significance of the proposal on mosques in the action plan, arguing that it was no secret that mosques were often the target of fundamentalists.

Anti-racism laws were enforced everywhere, including in religious institutions and schools, she said.

The minister stressed that Islam as a religion had to be seen independently from Islamic extremism.

We cannot condone the transferring of the Middle East conflict onto the streets of Belgium, she said.