Brussels attacks: one year on “racism is producing both violent incidents and terrorists”

Monday, 20 March 2017 16:23
Laurette Onkelinx feels that one year after the March 22nd Brussels attacks a lot of progress has been made but there is still much work to do around security. Laurette Onkelinx feels that one year after the March 22nd Brussels attacks a lot of progress has been made but there is still much work to do around security. © Belga
The leader of the PS, Laurette Onkelinx, spoke in parliament this morning (Monday).
She said that the Brussels March 22nd attacks have led to a fear “which albeit understandable does not, of itself, justify the problems which have since occurred.”

Onkelinx was speaking as we approach the first anniversary of the attacks this Wednesday. The Socialist argued very strongly that this fear has allowed for “somewhat offensive discourse” to enter the public arena. She said that actually we “should be personally investing our efforts into finding ways to live in harmony.”

Laurette Onkelinx acknowledged, "We are absolutely not out of the woods yet as regards the events of March 22nd last year.” As alluded to earlier, she said, there is a sense of fear “which albeit understandable does not, of itself, justify the problems which have since occurred.”

The Brussels attacks have led to “a somewhat offensive discourse on social media.” The Socialist leader stated, “Racism is unacceptable. It is obvious that it is producing both violent incidents and terrorists. We must personally invest our efforts into finding ways to live in harmony, as polarization and discrimination are facilitating the work of IS recruiters.”

The PS deputy denounced the fact that some government ministers, including the Secretary of State for Asylum and Immigration Policy, Theo Francken, are indeed contributing to this polarisation of society. Onkelinx stressed, “References to ‘them and us’ and the so-called white Belgian with ‘blue blood’, all contribute to inciting violence within Belgian society.”

She is clear though that work by the Investigative Committee on the Attacks has made it possible to highlight the “individual faults of those involved in terrorist attacks which, moreover, has had a major role in avoiding other attacks.”

She concludes, “However, the safety net has not been made secure enough. We need a complete overhaul of our security system.”

Oscar Schneider
The Brussels Times
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