Belgium Faces ‘Wave of Jihadism’ as Radical Islam Spreads in Prison Population

Belgi
MICHAEL VILLA/AFP/Getty

Belgium faces a “wave of jihadism” as radical Islam spreads through its prison population, according to a national security report.

The West European country, split between Flemish-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia and home to the European Union’s main capital of Brussels, is contending with a “never before seen population of detainees jailed for terrorism”, according to the report quoted by the Daily Mail.

The authorities fear that the Islamic fundamentalist ideology which drives this terrorist population is becoming a source of “contagion”.

“Taking into account the persistent recidivist tendency among former terrorism detainees, never mind radicalised common criminals, Belgium will continue to face a latent terror threat for some time to come,” the report laments.

Belgium is already one of the most fruitful recruiting grounds for Islamic State fighters in Europe per head of population, and has experienced several terrorist attacks, including three co-ordinated suicide bombings which murdered 32 and wounded over 300 in March 2016.

It has also been an important base for Islamic radicals carrying out terror attacks in France, thanks to the European Union’s open borders Schengen Area, which all but eliminates any sort of border control between most EU member-states — and was denounced by former INTERPOL chief Robert Noble as “effectively an international passport-free zone for terrorists to execute attacks… and make their escape” in 2015.

One of Belgium’s most notorious hotbeds of radical Islamic terrorism is the so-called “No Go Zone” of Molenbeek, a district of the Brussels-Capital region sometimes described as “Europe’s capital of jihad”.

Several high-profile terrorists have either lived in or been sheltered in the municipality, which has been the scene of a number of large-scale anti-terror raids and attacks on police officers.

The authorities had carried out door-to-door checks on some 8,600 houses and 22,668 residents under the “Channel Plan” aimed at getting a grip on the area by March 2017 — encompassing around a quarter of its total population.

It was reported that fully 6,168 people in Molenbeek were being monitored, and that at least 51 supposed non-profit organisations were being investigated for links to terrorism.

Deputy Mayor Ahmed El Khannouss condemned the Channel Plan as “wicked and unjustified”.

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