Brussels mayor Freddy Thielemans has banned a planned protest against the so-called "Islamization of Europe" on September 11, the 6th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States.
"The danger to public order is too high," to allow the Brussels protest to go ahead, said the mayor's spokesman Nicolas Dassonville, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP) late on Thursday, August 9.
The "Stop the Islamization of Europe" (SIOE) group announced plans for the demonstration in front of the European parliament building last month to protest what the group says "Islamization of Europe".
The group is also planning several protests to take place simultaneously around the world, notably in the United States, Canada and Australia.
The SIOE claims that Islam is "a tool for introducing Islamic imperialistic politics" in Europe.
It also alleges that Islam and democracy are incompatible because of the teachings of the Noble Qur'an.
SIOE is an alliance of people across Europe with the single aim of preventing Islam becoming a dominant political force in Europe.
The Brussels mayor said that the planned September protest would alienate Muslims in the city.
"The sizeable foreign community living in the area could react to the action," his spokesman said.
But the SIOE hit back at the mayor's stance.
"The mayor in Brussels is not fully aware of his responsibility," it said on its website.
"For as a mayor at EU's capital you cannot simply forbid ordinary European citizens to express their constitutional freedoms."
Brussels authorities receive between 500 and 600 requests to hold protests each year. In the last five years only six have been banned.
It is a paradox that Islamophobia has been on the rise, while more Europeans and westerns in general are embracing Islam since the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Last month, the private secretary of Pope Benedict XVI of the Vatican warned of the "Islamization of Europe" and urged defense of Europe's "Christian roots."
Pope Benedict himself drew international criticism last year after quoting a Byzantine emperor in his speech, who associated Islam with violence.
In June, Germany's top cardinal warned against "uncritical tolerance" which could lead to Islam enjoying equal standing with Christianity in the country.
Though Islam is the continent's second religion, Muslims across Europe are facing campaigns from far-right groups and some church leaders to have stately mosques.
Muslim leaders in Europe have always maintained that westerners are reverting to Islam out of their own volition without any simple form of proselytizing.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ağustos 2007, 19:00