Racist letters sent to Flemish people with foreign roots countered with open love letter
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    Racist letters sent to Flemish people with foreign roots countered with open love letter

    "We wanted to send out a loving message in response to all that hatred." Credit: PxHere

    Television presenter Steven Van Herreweghe and the Aalst citizens’ initiative Over.morgen responded in an open letter on Thursday to the racist letters that some people from Aalst found in their mail on Wednesday.

    The initiators ask for more positivity. “We wanted to send out a loving message in response to all that hatred,” said television presenter Steven Van Herreweghe, who also lives in Aalst, in an interview on Radio 1.

    “We meet each other on the street and are afraid to talk to each other. That is not necessary. I have been living here long enough to know that Aalst is a great city where everyone is welcome. Be more than welcome to protect that place together, with a lot of love and respect for each other’s norms and values. Whoever lives in Aalst lives there with love for the unique city, its DNA and its wonderful inhabitants. And we are all part of that together,” the open letter said.

    The police have started an investigation at the request of Mayor Christoph D’Haese (N-VA) and already have a suspect. “I hate people who send anonymous hate letters to the world and call for hate. These actions do not belong in Aalst. I strongly condemn the content and conduct of the letter,” D’Haese said.

    The centre for equal opportunities Unia already said on Wednesday that it is investigating the matter. “We have a local employee in Aalst and we are grouping the number of reports. We are investigating if the letters are rather a result of a fight between neighbours that has degenerated into the euphoria of the election results, or rather something structural,” the centre said. If the burden of proof is sufficient, the case could be brought to court.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times