Belgium: Islam party chairman sacked from job over expressed views

Abdelhay Bakkali Tahiri distributed Islam party tracts during working hours while dressed in his work uniform

Abdelhay Bakkali Tahiri, president of the Islam party, has been fired from his job with Bruxelles Propreté for reasons which the agency denied were politically motivated.

Tahiri had worked for the regional waste management agency for nine years, and first came to notice in 2014 when he was found distributing Islam party tracts during working hours while dressed in his work uniform.

Abdelhay Bakkali Tahiri (centre), president of the Islam Party

Later he was taking an exam for promotion within the service, and refused to greet the female invigilator with a handshake.

When another party member, Redouane Ahrouch, refused to look a female journalist in the eye during an interview with RTL television, Tahiri defended him in public. Ahrouch paid for his stand with his job with the public transport authority STIB.

Now, Tahiri defends his owns actions, and described the sacking as '100% politically motivated'. He attempted to have the Council of State issue an interim interdict to suspend the dismissal, but the application was rejected: interdicts are only issued in cases of urgency or where irreversible damage may occur.

Nevertheless, he has said he intends to pursue an action before the Council of State – the body which scrutinises decisions at all levels of government, including official agencies of government such as Bruxelles Propreté and STIB.

The agency, meanwhile, denied a political motivation, and said Tahiri had expressed views which were 'irreconcilable with those of an organisation that has employed dozens of women in recent years.

Author's comment: In the UK, people elected to public office are expected to follow the Nolan principles of openness, transparency and appropriate behaviour. This should also apply to high-ranking officials in political parties, and especially to parties whose ethics and values differ so markedly from standard Western codes of behaviour. The Belgian government should take note.

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