More cooperation needed to monitor the Muslim Brotherhood in Belgium, committee says

More cooperation needed to monitor the Muslim Brotherhood in Belgium, committee says
Serge Lipszyc, President of Comité R. © Belga

The Comité R responsible to monitor Belgium’s various police, security and intelligence agencies, published its report earlier in the week outlining a series of recommendations to improve the surveillance of the activities of The Muslim Brotherhood in Belgium.

The main conclusions of the report point to a lack of cooperation between the country’s intelligence and security agencies Belga News Agency reports. These include the General Intelligence and Security Service (GISS) which is the Belgian military service under the responsibility of the Defence Ministry, the civilian Belgian State Security Service (VSSE), the various police agencies and OCAM, an independent centre which assess the terrorist and extremist threat in Belgium.

"The investigation reveals a lack of cooperation between the intelligence services and their partners, which results in a lack of common definition of the phenomenon but also a lack of shared analysis of the threat level, which raises questions," the Committee says.

The government asked the Comité R (Standing Intelligence Agencies Review Committee) to investigate the Muslim Brotherhood’s presence in Belgium, and conduct a report following the debacle surrounding the nomination of Ihsane Haoach last year by the political green party Ecolo to parliament. The party member had to quickly resign after various direct and indirect links to the Muslim Brotherhood movement were revealed.

According to the report, the movement which was founded in Egypt in 1928 is present in Belgium. The report specifies that there is no direct threat linked from the movement against any Belgian institution. However, the intelligence service (GISS) consider them to be a “danger”.

As for the Belgian State Security Service (VSSE), the movement is even considered to constitute a “high priority threat in terms of extremism since their short-term strategy could create a climate of polarisation and segregation within Belgian society, and thus constitute a vector of radicalisation."

The Committee R finally suggests that the two intelligence services "intensify" efforts to raise awareness in political and administrative circles of the threats associated with the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Belgium.

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