Former Secretary of Migration Theo Francken condemned Belgium’s decision to repatriate six Islamic State orphans from Syria, questioning whether they really were orphans and arguing it could lead their parents to return to Belgium as well.
“Many of those women and men who died are suddenly [found] alive again. I know one thing: we have to take everything with an incredibly big pinch of salt — I don’t believe much of it,” the former state secretary and member of the Flemish nationalist Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA), said in an interview.
“Often the mothers are still alive and they are just as tough, if not tougher, than the men in their defence of the Sharia,” he added.
On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that the orphans’ repatriation had been approved after extensive analysis by federal intelligence and counter-terrorism services.
According to Francken, the children’s repatriations could entail the “legal consequence” of their parents’ being allowed back into Belgium by virtue of family rights enshrined into European human rights treaties.
On Wednesday evening, after news of the repatriation leaked before the official announcement, Francken said that the decision had been made by the “losing parties” of the outgoing federal government, who wanted to repatriate “all of the Islamic State’s children.”
De ultieme minderheidsregering van alle verliezende partijen wil al de IS kinderen terughalen. Ik zeg als pedagoog neen neen neen. Hun ouders zijn geen landgenoten meer.
— Theo Francken (@FranckenTheo) June 12, 2019
The Brussels Times