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Saudi envoy: Brussels Islamic fair comes at right time

By Nawab Khan

(with photos) BRUSSELS, Sept 29 (KUNA) -- The first Islamic expo in Brussels is taking place at a very right moment, the ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Brussels, Faisal Trad, said here Saturday.
Speaking to the Kuwait news agency, KUNA, at the sidelines of the fair, he said "it comes at the right moment especially in these difficult times." Trad was referring to the anti-Islam film made recently in the US and the reproduction by a French magazine of cartoons that insult the prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).
"These people try to hurt our prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), but of course nobody can hurt him at all," stressed the Saudi ambassador.
"This fair which focuses on identity, religion and citizenship comes at the right moment to give a message to everybody, especially to the Europeans, that Islam is a religion of tolerance and justice and we can dialogue and communicate and live and coexist in peace with others," added the Saudi ambassador.
On her part, the vice president of the European Parliament, Isabelle Durant, who also visited the fair today told KUNA that "I speak today as a Belgian and as an ecologist and I think it is a very important to have this opportunity to dialogue and discuss with the Muslim people." "Muslims here are citizens of Europe. We have to discuss and find the way of dialogue if we want to fight against populism and against all those who want to present the Muslims as extremists," she said.
"It is the first time that such a fair is being held in Brussels and I think this can help if citizens of Brussels visit this fair and have contacts with different groups," added Durant.
The League of Belgian Muslims has joined hands with a France-based investment company called Gedis, to organise the first Muslim fair in the Belgian capital.
The three-day expo is divided into two parts, a business side and a cultural side including a symposium and lectures.
Islamic preachers Sheikh Saad Al Braik from Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Issam Bashir of Sudan, and European Islamic thinker Tareq Ramadan addressed the symposium urging for tolerance and respect of religious beliefs and faith.
Karim Azzouzi, vice president of the League of Belgian Muslims, told KUNA that the Muslim populaiton in Belgium is between 500,000 to 600,000.
Belgium has a total population of about 10 million. A large number of visitors flocked to the fair Saturday. (end) nk.bs KUNA 292014 Sep 12NNNN