A Brussels firefighter discovered that several racist slurs had been written on his helmet when he took it out of equipment storage on Friday morning.
Using black marker, the culprits wrote: "monkey", "go back to Molenbeek", "Arab" and "sucker" on the back of the helmet belonging to the firefighter who is reportedly of North African origin.
In response to the incident, which took place at the headquarters of the Brussels fire department on Heliport Avenue, the department circulated an internal memo titled "racist incident".
"Management strongly condemns this act as unforgivable and punishable by law. There will be an investigation into disciplinary action," the internal memo explained, photographs obtained by RTBF show.
The same firefighter discovered on Tuesday morning that his locker had been broken into overnight. Slices of ham and a beer can had been placed among his belongings.
"Arabe", "retourne à Molenbeek", "singe", "suceur", "merde" + croix gammée et tranche de jambon sur l’uniforme… voilà ce qu’a droit un pompier de Bruxelles de la part de ses collègues. Voilà comment le traitement auquel on a droit quand on se met au service des autres… ??????? pic.twitter.com/qYmG66bNqB— oxymore (@_bahouais) October 29, 2019
Translation of tweet: "'Arab', 'return to Molenbeek', 'monkey', 'sucker', 'piece of shit' + swastika and slice of ham on the uniform... that is what a Brussels firefighter gets from his colleagues. This is the treatment you get when you put yourself at the service of others..."
The police arrived immediately and both the victim and the Brussels fire department lodged a complaint.
"These [incidents] are rare, they are serious and go too far. If it turns out that these two acts were committed by the same person, dismissal will be immediate. These two acts are entirely contrary to our values," spokesperson for the Brussels fire department, Walter Derieuw told RTBF.
"Racism has no place in the Brussels fire department. I have asked for a thorough investigation. We will wait for a report and, if necessary, additional measures will be taken," said Pascal Smet, Secretary of State of the Brussels-Capital Region.
The Brussels Times