Two men have been taken into custody in connection with an attack on a 19-year-old girl in Anderlues in Hainaut province last week, in which the girl was partially stripped and slashed on her upper body because she was wearing a Muslim headscarf. The Brussels Times reported the attack earlier in the week, as well as news that a local businessman had offered a bounty of €20,000 for information leading to an arrest of the attackers. It is not yet known whether any portion of the bounty has been claimed.
According to reports, the two men were tracked down by police (who cannot claim rewards in any case) and deny any involvement. A spokesperson for the Charleroi prosecutor’s office said the lead may not necessarily be the good one, but that everything was being done to verify evidence.
Meanwhile in Brussels, 100 or so people gathered outside the Justice Palace to protest the racist attack.
“Acts of racist and sexist violence are growing, and may correlate with the absence of strong political and judicial action,” said Vincent Cornil, director of MRAX, the organisation against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, which helped organise the demonstration.
The group called on the government to formulate a policy on racism and sexism. In the meantime, however, federal secretary of state Zuhal Demir announced that her department was putting together a wide-ranging proposed law covering all forms of discrimination (see linked article).