Number of youngsters attracted by radical Islam in Molenbeek on increase
Share article:
Share article:

Number of youngsters attracted by radical Islam in Molenbeek on increase

© Belga
Mosques are now up against a dual problem: their imams do not understand French and so do not understand the youngsters.
© Belga

Olivier van der Haegen stated the number of youngsters in Molenbeek supporting the radical Islam message is on the increase. The Project Manager for the fight against the commune’s radicalisation said this before the parliamentary enquiry committee on the terrorist attacks yesterday (Monday).

It emerged from his session that fewer individuals are leaving for the Middle East to fight alongside jihadists. However, that does not mean categorically that the radicalisation of youngsters, in some cases, will decrease.

The “targets” are changing: it is no longer so much a question of terrorist fighters abroad as unidentified youngsters, who have learned how to fall between the cracks.

Very often, these individuals already have a criminal background, whether for drug trafficking, smuggling or other offences.

Mr van der Haegen stresses, “The critical mass of youngsters directly supporting radical messages is on the increase. All of the time they form part of conspiracy theories and provocation.”

He says that recruiters remain active in Molenbeek. Investigations are continuing around this issue.

As for the concept of deradicalisation, there are still many questions around this. Prison wardens, who were heard as part of the investigation, a few weeks ago, proved to be very sceptical as to the potential to deradicalise a given individual.

The head of the prevention project says, “I do not know exactly why this is. There are people who we know will never disengage from radical Islam. This category are, however, able to disengage themselves from actual violence.”

Molenbeek has been in the spotlight since the Paris attacks. A study led by UCL is under way to understand why youngsters go from being part of communal organisations (youth centres, schools and others) to then deviate on the path to radicalistion.

A high number of radicalised youngsters seek their identity within society. Mr van der Haegen says, “Religion enters an identity prosthesis phase at a given moment.”

Little by little, mosques are becoming aware of this phenomenon. However, they are faced with a dual problem. This is that their respective imams do not understand French and so do not understand the youngsters.

Mr van der Haegen stresses that, “In the streets, these youngsters come across people who speak to them of a somewhat dubious form of Islam.”

The head of prevention insists upon the need to speak of spirituality to youngsters from an age when they are old enough to understand.

He highlighted a social context, marked by alarming rates of unemployment in certain districts. He strongly argued, “We actually need a Marshall Plan for youngsters in Brussels.”

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Over 50,000 march against fascism in Rome
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated against fascism in Rome on Saturday, one week after violent protests against the Covid certificate. Over ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
Vaccinations: Belgium’s Health Minister currently not in favour of a general booster shot
The latest figures on new coronavirus cases are worrying, but rather than imposing new safety measures, what is needed is full compliance with ...
Thousands protest against the Covid health pass in France
Demonstrations against the health pass and other measures aimed at preventing the spread of the Coronavirus mobilised tens of thousands of protesters ...
Record-breaking 770-metre highline installed in Freÿr, Belgium
A 770-metre long highline was installed at an altitude of 70 metres at the Freÿr Rocks on Saturday, setting a new Belgian record, according to ...
Huge cannabis farm discovered inside closed down Chinese restaurant near Charleroi
A cannabis plantation with several hundred mature plants was dismantled on Friday evening in a former Chinese restaurant on Chaussée de Bruxelles ...
Citizen founded wind turbine project launched in Liège region
A citizen founded wind turbine project was inaugurated in the Liège Region on Saturday by Walloon Energy Minister Philippe Henry (Ecolo) together ...
Five questions to philosopher Philippe Van Parijs on Leopold II and embarrassment in Brussels’ public space
The worldwide explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, combined with the 60th anniversary of the ...
Belgium to invest in sustainable heating in 2022
The federal government will set aside about one million euros in its 2022 budget for a social tariff for sustainable heating, Federal Energy Minister ...
Unfinished draft of new Astérix story discovered
The discovery of the unfinished draft of a cartoon album on the most famous of all Gauls, sketched by cartoonist René Goscinny, was announced by his ...
Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...