View of the Grand Mosque in Brussels, Belgium, October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo
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Belgium is taking back control of the Grand Mosque of Brussels by terminating Saudi Arabia's lease of the building with immediate effect over concerns it promotes radicalism, the government said Friday.Belgium leased the Grand Mosque to Riyadh in 1969, giving Saudi-backed imams access to a growing Muslim immigrant community, mostly from Morocco and Turkey, in return for cheaper oil for its industry.Justice Minister Koen Geens said the sprawling complex will instead house the offices of the Muslim Executive of Belgium, an official body which represents Muslim communities across the country.Belgian security sources have told Reuters that the Muslim Executive of Belgium is close to the Moroccan government, with which Belgium has strong intelligence ties.
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