The Belgium, which has 150,000 Buddhists, is expected to officially recognize Buddhism by passing the relevant bill today. The recognition comes after the request of the Belgian Buddhist Association in March 2006. The only other EU country where Buddhism is recognized is Austria.
In Belgium, six religious denominations are currently officially recognized: Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Israeli, Anglican, Evangelical Protestant and Islamic, which was recognized in 1974. Buddhism will be recognized as “a philosophical organization that does not belong to a particular dogma’ as well as the secular organizations that have been recognized since 2002.
From the moment it is voted by the parliament the law will receive federal financing of up to 1.2 million euros. It also paves the way for the creation of local institutions – from sending Buddhist representatives to ports and airports, prisons, the army and hospitals to the inclusion of courses Buddhism in the formal education program along with the teaching of other religious practices.
All Belgian provinces as well as the Brussels Region should each fund a local Buddhist center.
Source: News Beast
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