On 4 June, after receiving the opinion of the Council of State, the Flemish government gave its final approval to the controversial decree.
Laws are passed with the alleged aim of combating Islamic radicalism. They are then used against peaceful religionists labeled as “fundamentalists” or “cults.”
The proposed decree feeds into to the growing distrust of religion and raises serious religious freedom concerns, according to a FORB Perspective.
The Ghent Court decision declaring shunning as practiced by Jehovah’s Witnesses illegal ignores European and Belgian precedents, and is clearly wrong.
In an unprecedented ruling, judges turned the long-standing interpretation of articles 9, 10, 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights on its head.
Many do not understand how shunning exactly works. Erroneous representations of the practice may have influenced the Ghent judges.
Declaring that shunning “apostates” is a crime implies accepting the ideology that surrendering our freedom to an organization is always suspicious.
The Belgian court adopted an intrusive view of the powers of the state, incompatible with democracy—and with common sense.
Suggesting that current members do not associate with “apostate” ex-members has been historically common in many religions.