One of the rare Belgian churches that is packed every weekend is the church of Saint Anthony of Padova in Montignies-sur-Sambre, one of the poorest suburbs of Charleroi, a derelict rust belt area to the south of Brussels. Holy Mass in Montignies is conducted in Latin and lasts up to four hours. Yesterday over 2,000 people attended the service by Father Samuel (Père Samuel). The priest’s sermon dealt with his persecution. The Belgian authorities are bringing the popular priest to court on charges of racism.
Father Samuel has been prosecuted for “incitement to racist hatred” by the Belgian government’s inquisition agency, the so-called Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (CEOOR), because of a remark he made in a 2002 television interview when he said:
“Every thoroughly islamized Muslim child that is born in Europe is a time bomb for Western children in the future. The latter will be persecuted when they have become a minority.”
Last Thursday the Belgian judiciary decided that the priest will have to stand trial before the penal court in Charleroi. He reacted by repeating his time bomb statement and added that he would be honoured if he had to go to jail for speaking his mind. He added that Jesus, too, had been convicted. During yesterday’s sermon he called upon the faithful to accompany him to court. “We will turn this into an excursion, driving there in full buses.”