Belgium will become the second EU country to recognize Buddhism

The Belgian Buddhist Association applied for recognition in March 2006. The association 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 worship services in Belgium: Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Israeli, Anglican, Evangelical Protestant, and Islamic, recognized in 1974.

Buddhism will be recognized as a “non-denominational philosophical organization” alongside organized secularism, which has been recognized since 2002.

It will receive federal funding of up to 1.2 million euros.

Once approved by the parliament, the law will allow the creation of local institutions, the sending of Buddhist delegates to ports and airports, prisons, the army, hospitals, the provision of religious education as well as Buddhism courses in formal education.

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