Around 200 people were at the Place Poelaert in Brussels on Sunday afternoon, to demonstrate against Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination. The demonstration was organized following the attacks in Paris and judicial anti-terrorist measures in Belgium. According to the demonstrators, a link between terrorists and the Muslim community is made much too often. “We are here to say we are Muslims as well as citizens of this society”, say the organizers. “We urgently need to show there is a difference between terrorists and Muslims, in particularly in the media. These extremists, who are not part of our community, do not represent anything. The immense majority of Muslims want to live only in peace.”
“It’s not right that we have to feel responsible for the crimes committed by a minority again and again, and prove that we are not violent or have bad intentions. It’s the same as if all Christians had to continually distance themselves from the Ku Klux Klan”.
Islamophobia and negative information about Muslims is a danger for young people, the demonstrators say. “In Molenbeek, for example, there are nearly 17,000 young people, and a few became jihadists. We need to make sure they are not stigmatized as potential terrorists. They are the future of our society and we must give them every chance to become part of it”.