It is everywhere. Local news reports in Brussels< Belgium tell the story of replacing the town's traditional Christmas tree and nativity scene and replacing them with an electronic "winter tree" to avoid offending the local Muslim population. Reports confirm that the historic local market will be a large display enabling visitors to climb the sculpture for a panoramic view of the city.
City councilwoman Bianca Debaets believes a â€œmisplaced argumentâ€ over religious sensitivities has moved Brussels to put up the light sculpture. She points to the fact that it display not be referred to â€œChristmasâ€ in any way to make her point.
â€œI suspect that the reference to the Christian religion was the decisive factorâ€ in replacing the tree, she told reporters. â€œFor a lot of people who are not Christians, the tree there is offensive to them.â€
Many cities in Belgium have thriving Muslim populations. A 2008 study showed Muslims make up 25.5-percent of the population of Brussels, 3.9-percent of Flanders, and 4.0-percent of Wallonia.
Two Muslims elected to the Brussels city council last month have vowed to turn Belgium into a Muslim state based on Sharia law.
â€œMust a historic city like Brussels be sensitive to traditions? And should be a multi-religious city like Brussels not leave room for the individuality of every philosophy?,â€ Debaets asks