search

Assad meets with far-right Belgian lawmakers

Syrian dictator says ‘true Islam rejects all forms of violence’; condemns European countries

Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks to the BBC in an interview aired February 10, 2015. (screen capture: BBC)
Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks to the BBC in an interview aired February 10, 2015. (screen capture: BBC)

DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday received a delegation of Belgian lawmakers led by far-right Flemish nationalist Filip Dewinter, state media reported.

State news agency SANA said Assad met the delegation to discuss the conflict in Syria, in which more than 215,000 people have been killed since March 2011.

Assad criticized European countries, without naming them, for “making a serious mistake by allying with countries that support terrorism that distorts Islam.”

“Terrorist organizations and those who support them do not represent true Islam, which rejects all forms of violence,” SANA quoted Assad as telling the delegation.

The group of lawmakers was led by Dewinter, head of Belgium’s far-right Vlaams Belang party and a controversial figure accused of xenophobia.

Belgian far-right lawmaker Filip Dewinter (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)
Belgian far-right lawmaker Filip Dewinter (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

Dewinter espouses an anti-immigration message that often targets Muslim immigrants, and he has also spoken against the construction of mosques in Belgium.

The Belgian visit follows that by a group of French parliamentarians, several of whom also met with Assad, prompting criticism from France’s President Francois Hollande.

Syria’s government is largely shunned by the international community, with the exception of a few allies, notably Russia, Iran and Iraq.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed