The Public Prosecutor’s Office, which has scrutinised some 3,308 non-profit organisations in Molenbeek and the surrounding area, has opened an investigation into 144 such associations. This relates to their links to radicalism or terrorism.
The investigators have cross-referenced databanks of third sector organisations and the Public Prosecutor’s Office. As alluded to earlier, somewhat alarmingly, they discovered that one or more managers from 144 non-profit organisations had links with violent radicalism or terrorism.
In 74 cases, the managers had a direct link with radicalism or terrorism. Other cases involved weapons or drugs trafficking, or indeed other serious criminal acts.
Johan De Becker, the Head of the Brussels-West police zone, also indicated that a criminal investigation is currently determining whether the third sector organisations themselves have a link to terrorism or radicalism.
The Minister of the Interior, Jan Jambon (of the New flemish Alliance), is wary for the moment of drawing conclusions.
He stated, “However, little by little, we are separating the wheat from the chaff in this matter. We have henceforth, at the very least, a view of existing third sector organisations.”
He went on, “We know that terrorist networks are seeking this kind of ‘undergrowth,’ for want of a better word, with a view to laundering money or preparing for attacks. We have been able to infiltrate this and create order from the chaos, owing to the checks that we now have in place.”