The Prime Minister of Belgium has backed his Interior Minister who has come under fire for stating that some Belgian Muslims had celebrated the recent Brussels attacks.
In an interview at the weekend with the Flemish daily newspaper De Standaard, discussing the governments response to the Brussels attacks in March, Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon (pictured above, right) said that “a significant part of the Muslim community danced on the streets.” He continued:
“They threw bottles and rocks at the police and media after Salah Abdeslam was arrested. That is the real problem: that third-generation migrants are turning their backs on our society and use violence. It all has to do with our policy.”
Discussing how the government might respond, Mr. Jambon added:
“Terrorists we can pick up, remove from society. But they are just a pimple. Underneath is a much more difficult cancer to treat. We can handle it. But not overnight.”
Mr. Jambon’s claims were attacked by opposition politicians, such as Meyrem Almaci who leads the Green party in the Chamber of Representatives. She said they were “unworthy of a minister” and that his “job is to unite”, adding that he should either produce evidence or apologise to “the entire Muslim community.”
As De Morgen newspaper reports, a group of young people did appear in Brussels chanting pro-Islamic State slogans on the very day 32 people were killed by the terrorists, and later at a school in Anderlecht the minute’s silence to commemorate the victims was disturbed.
Despite those reports even the Deputy Prime Minister warned that his colleague and others should be “very careful with those kind of generalisations.”
In response Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (pictured above, left) has now come out in support of his colleague, saying the National Security Council had indeed been informed of expressions of support for the Brussels terrorists. Although conceding such statements came only from a small minority, he issued a statement saying his Interior Minister colleague had not been generalising, explaining:
“I can confirm that there have been endorsements for the attacks… We must neither generalise nor gloss over this.”
The Prime Minister’s spokesman, Frédéric Cauderlier, told RTBF that these events occurred “in several parts of the country,” confirming that they are subject to legal proceedings.