SHAFAQNA – A “significant” number of Belgian Muslim population celebrate terrorist attacks, the country’s Interior Minister has claimed.
Speaking to the Flemish-language newspaper De Standaard, Jan Jambon did not specifically refer to the attacks on Brussels Airport and a metro station last month which left 32 people dead but said there is a “cancer” of extremism running through Belgian society that the government is struggling to fight.
He accused Muslim residents of the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek of attacking police during an operation last month to arrest Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam.
“They threw stones and bottles at police and press during the arrest of Salah Abdeslam. This is the real problem,” he said, according to AFP.
“Terrorists we can pick up, remove from society. But they are just a boil. Underneath is a cancer that is much more difficult to treat. We can do it, but it won’t be overnight”.
Mr Jambon, a member of the right-wing Flemish party N-VA, offered to resign in response to criticism over the government’s handling of the extremist threat in the wake of the attacks.
He said the country had “for many years ignored the warning signs” of extremism.
It comes after the only suspect still at large following the attacks, Mohamed Abrini, was arrested in Brussels last week.
He was detained by police in the Anderlect area of Brussels along with several other men who are suspected of having links to the Paris attacks.
He has reportedly admitted to being the “man in the hat” spotted on CCTV fleeing the scene after his bomb failed to detonate at Brussels Airport.
Minister Jambon here is tapping into a issue which so far has been misconstrued … even by those professing it. Minister Jambom is making a case against Islamic extremism, somewhat implying that Islam stands the source of terror – the one element needing removing, when in fact it is Wahhabism which deserves his ire.
It is Wahhabism and not Islam which has been preached and taught in most Belgium Mosques. It is again Wahhabism which perverted communities by calling its youth to become violent extremists.
It is Wahhabism Belgian politicians and officials invited into their land in exchange for lucrative contracts. Islam here stands the victim, as it is its faith which was hijacked by a band of bloodthirsty megalomaniac.
If indeed Europe needs to get angry, it should learn to direct its wrath towards those who deserve it, and not against those who, too, ambition to see radicalism eradicated.
I heard often the argument that Islam is nefarious because it is not native to Europe. While this is true, neither are Judaism, and Christianity since all were born in the Middle East. No faiths are native or foreign. Faiths are fluid and universal in that they transcend human nature to offer a vision of the Truth, an expression of the Truth.
Let us not be blind-sided by hate and prejudices. Let us instead identify those demons which seek all of our destruction.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna