Belgium: Belgium becomes second EU country to recognize Buddhism – Times of India

BRUSSELS: Belgium is expected to officially recognize Buddhism after the federal government passed a bill on Friday, opening the door to federal funding, official representatives and school classes.
The Belgian Buddhist Union had applied for recognition in March 2006. The union estimates the number of Buddhists in Belgium at 150,000. The only other EU country where Buddhism is recognized is Austria.
There are currently six officially recognized places of worship in Belgium: de Roman Catholicthe orthodox, the Israelitethe Anglican, the Protestant Evangelical and the Islamic, recognized in 1974.
Buddhism would be recognized as “a nondenominational philosophical organization” alongside organized secularism, recognized since 2002. It would receive federal funding of up to $1.2 million.
Voted once by the parliamentthe law will pave the way for the establishment of local institutions, for sending Buddhist deputies in ports and airports, in prisons, in the army, hospitals, opening Buddhist courses in official education in addition to teaching the other worship services.
All Belgian provinces and the Brussels Region should therefore each finance a local Buddhist centre.

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