11 people were arrested yesterday following a riot involving Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis which broke out over a dispute involving a Syrian woman refusing to wear a head scarf.
Those arrested following the riot at a migrant reception centre in Moorslede quarter of Leopoldsburg, Belgium, have now been removed, reports Het Laatste Nieuws. Red Cross spokeswoman, An Luyten, confirmed: “The four that were part of the core portion have been transferred to a detention centre. The seven others are individually housed and distributed in other reception centres in Flanders.”
The trigger for the riot, which saw the migrants using chairs, broomsticks and rubbish bins on each other, was a dispute over a Syrian woman’s refusal to wear a headscarf, reports Flanders News.
“Two or three Afghans had been targeting a young girl from Syria for a couple of days because she was not covering her head,” explained Ms. Luyten, “which is weird, because several other girls were also not wearing a headscarf. It is not clear why they were after this girl in particular.”
Whatever the reason was for her being singled out for attention, she tired of the situation. The argument ended up creating two groups among the migrants, with Syrian and Iraqi residents defending the girl on the one side, and Afghan refugees on the other.
“We are shocked by this massive brawl,” added Ms. Luyten, “it is also traumatic for the other asylum seekers, women and children. We honestly did not see this fight coming, although the arguments had apparently been going on for a few days.”
As a result of the riot between the two groups yesterday afternoon seven people were injured, one seriously enough to be taken to hospital.
Secretary of State for Asylum, Migration and Administrative Simplification, Theo Francken, has spoken out about the riot, saying:
“I find it totally unacceptable that some young Afghans find it necessary to tell Syrian girls to wear a headscarf and that they should not dress like western girls.
“They come here, they are guests here. We are not theirs. They have to adapt to our rules.”