Molenbeek: Islamic Ghetto in the Heart of Belgium
Molenbeek is one of the nineteen municipalities of the Brussels metropolitan area and a hotbed of jihadist activity in Europe.
During the Industrial Revolution it was known as 'Little Manchester', by dint of the many thriving factories and warehouses that sprang up beside the newly-built waterway.
Today, ''Little Morocco'' would be a more appropriate soubriquet. For crossing the bridge into Molenbeek — as it is called — you feel as though you abruptly came out of Europe and entered some seething Middle Eastern or North African ghetto.
Many shop signs are in Arabic; the butchers are almost exclusively halal; there is a bustling, souk-style open market; full-face veils are worn as routinely as in Tangier and Istanbul, The Daily Mail writes.
The area, which is one of the most densely populated in the country, had an unemployment rate of 29 percent for men in 2013, compared to 22 percent in the rest of the area. Over 25 percent of the population is Muslim, many of whom are immigrants from North Africa and Turkey. There are 22 mosques in the area—more than four times the number of churches—and several have been suspected to be extremist recruiting grounds.
After several convicted and suspected terrorists were found to have lived in the suburb, Molenbeek received criticism in regards to combating Islamic terrorism and the radicalization of young Sunni Muslims. It has been taking place in private homes rather than in more open places, such as mosques.
According to Islam in Europe, Islamic extremism has become a subject of much consternation in Belgium, a country that is now a top exporter of jihadists to Syria. Over 440 Belgian citizens have traveled to fight in that nation’s civil war.
The mayor of Molenbeek, Françoise Schepmans, told that she believes certain residents of the area left to fight with ISIS in Syria and then returned to train others which is very dangerous. "The situation was left to rot too long, and we let radical Islamists take control," she added.
It should be reminded that Molenbeek became even more famous at the end of the last year, after November events. The recent Paris attacks have thrust Molenbeek into the international spotlight. Belgian authorities carried out a series of raids searching for key suspects believed to have lived in the area. Two people arrested have been charged with terrorism offences.
- Pompeo: US "Will Continue to Lead" Fight Against Islamic State "The United States will continue to lead the coalition and the world on this essential security effort," Pompeo said as he opened a day of talks in Washington.
- Turkish Police Detain 7 Over ISIS Links One suspect is believed to be responsible for ISIS training camps that train some 2000 foreign militants per year, the daily said citing a statement by Turkey's interior ministry.
- Pentagon Chief Urges Turkey to Stay Focused on Fighting Islamic State Relations between the United States and Turkey, allies within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, have become frayed by their diverging interests in the Syrian civil war.
- US Will Maintain Military Presence in Syria after the Defeat of IS "We cannot make the same mistakes that were made in 2011," Tillerson said to an audience that included former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz, noting that the Islamic State and...
- Isis Use of Hobby Drones as Weapons Tests Chinese Makers The first X-8 in a conflict zone was spotted in 2015 by Kurdish forces near the Mosul Dam in Iraq, while in October 2016 a bomb-laden X-8 killed two Kurdish soldiers and injured two French commandos in...
- Isis Founding Member Confirmed by Spies as Group's New Leader He is also known by the nom de guerre Haji Abdullah, and in some circles as Abdullah Qardash – although Iraqi officials suggest the latter was a separate Isis figure who died two years ago.
- Turkey Begins Deportation Of Captive Foreign Islamic State Terrorists To Their Home Countries The issue of the handling of Daesh/ISIS members and their families detained in Syria -- including foreign members of the terror group -- has been controversial, with Turkey arguing foreign-born terrorists...
- US Knows 'Almost Nothing' about New ISIS Leader The announcement of the new leader came in an audio message released last week by a new ISIS spokesperson, after Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, the spokesperson and right-hand man to Baghdadi, was also killed,...
- Erdogan Says Turkey has Captured Baghdadi's Wife A senior Turkish official said earlier this week that Turkey had captured Baghdadi’s sister, her husband and daughter.
- Newsweek Reveals Name of Likely Successor to Dead Islamic State Group’s Leader Abdullah Qardash, sometimes spelled Kardesh and also known as Hajji Abdullah al-Afari, was said to have been nominated by Baghdadi in August to run the group's "Muslim affairs" in a widely-circulated statement...
Lee Kun-hee, Samsung’s Chairman, Dies at 78
Our people in Nagorno-Karabakh Will Live in Freedom, in Dignity, in Safety, and in Security- Armenian FM
France recalls Ambassador from Turkey
Armenia Records 77837 Confirmed Coronavirus Cases
During the Night, the Situation on the Artsakh-Azerbaijani Conflict Zone Remained Relatively Stable, but Tense
During the Night of October 24, Azerbaijan Continued Bombarding Armenian Settlements
Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Artsakh Appealed to the ICRC in Connection with the Publication of Videos of Servicemen of Defense Army of the Republic of Artsakh and a Civilian
Artsrun Hovhannisyan Presented Interactive Map of Military Actions (video)
Today the Situation in Different Sectors of the Frontline Was Not Too Tense
Armenia's Foreign Minister Met with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs
Azerbaijani Armed Forces Are Attempting Offensive Operations in Armenian Armed Forces Uniforms
Artsakh Army Destroys another Azerbaijani UAV
Friends of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh Should React Immediately. Armen Sarkissian's Interview to Al-Ahram
During the Day Azerbaijan Has Constantly Kept Peaceful Settlements in the Republic of Artsakh under Fire
Azerbaijan Is Openly and Ostentatiously Undermining the Efforts of International Mediators to End the Aggression: Artsakh MFA
Guatemala’s Sayaxché Recognizes Right to Self-Determination of People of Artsakh
Azerbaijan's Statement About Shooting Down Armenian Aircraft Absolute Lie – Armenia’s MOD
Greece Will Increase the Number of Professional Servicemen in the Army Amid Tensions with Turkey
Karabakh Defense Army destroys enemy's TOS-1 heavy artillery system (video)
Artsakh’s Defense Army Reports About 36 New Casualties
Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh Will Never Be Defeated: Kim Kardasian Posted President Sarkissian's Interview
Artsakh's Guardian Angel - St. Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral (Virtual Tour)
Despite Your Best Efforts, Turkey, Azerbaijan... We Will Never Be Annihilated: Alexis Ohanian
Kim Kardashian donates 1 million USD to "Hayastan" All Armenian Fund
Armen Knyazyan is Awarded with the Highest title of the "Hero of Artsakh"
Turkish Prosecutor General's Office Launches Procedure to Deprive Armenian MP Garo Paylan of Immunity
We Hope Armenians Will Be Able to Defend Against what Azerbaijanis are Doing – Pompeo
Experts of the Human Rights Defender’s Office Have Identified Location and Time of Azerbaijani Criminal Ativities Towards Armenian Prisoners of War
Emmanuel Macron Proposes New Talks on Nagorno-Karabakh
MFA Spokesperson Statement in Response to the Statement by the EEAS Spokesperson on the So-Called "Strikes on the City of Ganja"
Wind: 5 km/h