The Brazilian mother of Belgian jihadist Brian De Mulder tells BBC Brazil that she would like to see her son in jail for leaving his family to fight for the Islamic State in Syria after becoming radicalized by leaders of a group known as “Sharia4Belgium.”
Brazilian newspaper O Globo reports that Rosana Rodrigues, De Mulder’s mother, has said she left Brazil to give her son a good life but found something “much worse” there than drugs or gangs. In her first interview since the arrest of 46 other members of Sharia4Belgium planning to join the Islamic State in Syria, Rodrigues says she would prefer her son be convicted, however, than for him to be in the Middle East killing.
Speaking to BBC Brazil, she says, “I prefer my son convicted. I prefer to spend every day of my life visiting my son in jail, bringing him food, toothpaste, necessary things, than to know that a son of mine is a terrorist now in Syria.”
“I left my country to raise my children in Belgium my way, to educate my children so that they would move forward, do well, never do ill to others, not steal or use drugs. It was worse,” she laments.
She tells the BBC that she tried to save her son, going to the police to explain that she thought her son might be involved in some illegal activity at his mosque. “I went to the police to ask for help and they laughed in my face,” she states. “If they had done their job, the job they are meant to do, my son and the sons of others who are now mad may not be this way.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that De Mulder has not yet been found and is believed to be fighting in Syria, though neither authorities nor his family know whether he is alive or dead. The man many say is responsible for his radicalization, Fouad Belkacem, is among those facing the most time in prison in the Belgian trial. Belkacem ran Sharia4Belgium and allegedly has personally radicalized dozens of young men in the nation, in addition to attacking a police station.
Europe is facing a crisis of radicalization–from Belgium to Germany to the UK–and multiple nations have begun concentrated efforts to stop the swell of radical Islam in their nations. Latin America, meanwhile, appears to be low on radical Islamist organizations’ list of priorities, though the Islamic State has used a Chilean spokesman to host videos showcasing its violent efforts in the past.