“While the government has acknowledged that hundreds of Belgians have gone to fight with ISIS or for other groups in the Syrian civil war, Pieter Van Ostaeyen, an independent researcher, calculated in October (2015) that 516 Belgians had fought in Iraq or Syria, far higher than the government’s figures. Based on his numbers, Belgium has contributed more fighters per capita to the fight in the Levant than any other European country.”
David A. Graham — The Atlantic (November 2015)
Brussels is the capital of Belgium as well as the capital of Europe. But some are now calling it the ‘Muslim’ capital of Europe The small European nation has become a major source of violent jihadists, both in Syria and Iraq and also inside Europe. After the Paris and Brussels attacks, many have denounced Belgium as a Failed State. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
Since the Paris Attacks of November 2015, the international media have described Belgium as a failed State.
“That the Paris terrorist attacks had strong links to a suburb of Brussels didn’t shock many of us who live in the Belgian capital. Radio stations here in both French and Dutch are full of discussions about Molenbeek that elicit indignation, sorrow, anger, guilt, despair, defiance. But not surprise.
Friday’s attacks in Paris were but the latest in a litany of jihadist incidents over the last two years involving people with ties to Molenbeek, including the 2014 shooting at the Jewish museum in Brussels, the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January and the failed attack in August on a Thalys train.
The absence of surprise also makes sense because long before the emergence of jihadism, Molenbeek had acquired a reputation for lawlessness.
What do Molenbeek’s failures reveal about the deep dysfunction in the Belgian state?
That Molenbeek has been allowed to become a breeding-ground for jihadism says some damning things about formal and informal structures in Belgium, and in particular Brussels.” [ Belgium is a failed state – POLITICO ]
Here are a few other pieces on the subject:
A few facts about Molenbeek
Molenbeek, is one of 19 municipalities in the Brussels-Capital Region (Belgium). The commune of Molenbeek has gained a reputation for being a safe haven for jihadists in relation to the support shown by some residents towards the bombers who carried out terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels.
According to Le Monde, the assassins who killed anti-Taliban commander Ahmed Shah Massoud both came from Molenbeek.
Hassan el-Haski, one of the 2004 Madrid terror bombers came from Molenbeek.
The perpetrator of the Jewish Museum of Belgium shooting, Mehdi Nemmouche, lived in Molenbeek for a time.
Ayoub El Khazzani, the perpetrator of the 2015 Thalys train attack, stayed with his sister in Molenbeek.
French police believe the weapons used in the Porte de Vincennes siege the same day as the Charlie Hebdo shooting were sourced from Molenbeek.
The bombers of the November 2015 Paris attacks were also traced to Molenbeek.
During the Molenbeek capture of Salah Abdeslam, an accomplice of the Paris bombers, protesters “threw stones and bottles at police and press during the arrest”, stated the Interior Minister of Belgium, Jan Jambon.
November 2015 Paris attacks — At least three of the terrorists in the November 2015 Paris attacks — the brothers Brahim and Salah Abdeslam, alleged accomplice Mohamed Abrini, and the alleged mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud — are men who grew up and lived in Molenbeek.
According to French President François Hollande, that was also where they organised the attacks.
On 18 March 2016, Salah Abdeslam, a suspected accomplice in those attacks, was captured in two anti-terrorist raids in Molenbeek that killed another suspect and injured two others. At least one other suspect remains at large. Ibrahim (born 9 October 1986 in Brussels) was involved in the attempted robbery of a currency exchange office in January 2010, where he shot at police with a Kalashnikov rifle.
The Mayor of Brussels, Freddy Thielemans, and the Mayor of Molenbeek, Philippe Moureaux, described the shooting as a “fait divers” (a small daily news item) and “normal in a large city”, causing controversy.
Police investigation — As several of the attackers in the Brussels and Paris terrorist attacks had connections to the area, Belgian police started door-to-door checks where a quarter of Molenbeek’s inhabitants were investigated, a total of 22 668.
This operation resulted in that of the 1600 organisations investigated, 102 were found to be involved with crime and a further 52 were involved with terrorism. 72 individuals were found to have terrorist connection and were subject to future surveillance. [Wikipedia]
10 Reasons Why Belgium is a Terrorism Hotbed
Belgistan? Sharia Showdown Looms in Brussels
The graffiti on a building in Belgium says it all: “Welcome to ‘Belgistan.” Muslims are still a minority in Belgium, but in the capital of Brussels, they’re already the largest religious group, comprising one-quarter of the city’s population.In less than 20 years they’re expected to be the majority.
The most confrontational Muslim group here is Sharia4Belgium. Many don’t take the small group seriously. But Sharia4Belgium head Fouad Belkacem, alias Abu Imran, sounded very serious when he told CBN News he expects Muslims to dominate Belgium and the world.
“The Sharia will dominate,” Imran said. “We believe Sharia will be implemented worldwide.”
Imran was completely open with CBN News, saying Islam and Sharia law are inseparable, and that democracy is evil.
“Sharia is Islam, to be clear,” he said. “There is no difference between Islam and Sharia, it’s just a name.”
“Democracy is the opposite of Sharia and Islam,” he said. “We believe Allah is the legislator. Allah makes the laws. He decides what is allowed and what is forbidden.”
What’s the Matter With Belgium? — The Atlantic
Welcome to Belgistan! [Is Belgium a Failed State?]