Islamists shatter quiet Belgium

The problem of immigrants from Muslim countries manifested itself in another European country - Belgium. Last week there were riots and attacks on police by the Islamists. The reason for that was the enforcement of the law banning Muslim women from concealing their faces.

This law was passed in the spring of 2010. However, because of the political crisis that hit Belgium, it came into force in July of 2011. Under to the law, a woman who appears on the street wearing a veil should be penalized by 137.5 euros. The fine does not seem to be very large, and only about 300 residents of Belgium wear veils. However, it was not easy. The problems manifested themselves very quickly.

In late September of 2011 the first incident occurred. A police officer approached a Muslim couple and demanded that the woman removes her veil. In response, the husband began to beat the policeman and threatened death to those who wanted to see the face of his wife. The adept of sharia law was arrested and pressed criminal charges against, and his wife got off with the above fine.

In early June of this year the severity of the confrontation has increased. In the Brussels region Molenbek, where Muslims make up over a third of the population, the police have fined a woman with her face covered. In response, people from Muslim countries staged riots. When police raided them to verify their documents, the young people, many of whom belonged to the Islamist organization Shariah4Belgium, put up fierce resistance.

On June 7 in Antwerp a leader of Sharia4Belgium Fuad Belkacem who was accused of inciting unrest was detained. "If you want to go to hell, it's your problem, but let us live as we want to," he said, reacting to the recent detention of a woman. Incidentally, in February he was sentenced to two years in prison for incitement of violence. However, the term was suspended. Now it has become a reality.

The story did not end there. On June 9 at a Brussels metro station a young man who publicly announced his membership in Shariah4Belgium attacked two police officers with a knife. The criminal is wanted. An isolated incident of the detention caused a chain reaction of a series of incidents that have highlighted the upright severity of the problem.

Immigrants from Muslim countries began to emerge in Belgium in the early twentieth century. It was cheap labor force. In the 1960-1970-ies agreements were signed with Turkey, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and the influx of immigrants has increased. The greatest number of adherents of Islam moved to Belgium in 1985-2000, when a variety of programs for family reunification were enacted.

Today, there are over 600,000 Muslims in Belgium, or six percent of the population. Half of them are concentrated in Brussels. In the regions of Saint-Zhoss Molenbek Muslims amount to nearly 50 percent. The largest part of the Belgian Muslims is from Morocco. They are followed by the Turks, natives of Algeria, and Tunisia. There are approximately 10,000 Muslims from the North Caucasus; there are Albanians, Bosnian Muslims, and Pakistanis.

Islam is one of the officially recognized state religions. In 1998 the Executive Committee of Muslims of Belgium was established. Nearly half of the immigrants from Islamic countries have lost touch with the religion of their ancestors and do not go to mosque. Otherwise, they seem to be impregnated with the most radical ideas. It is worth noting that among the Muslims birth rate is far higher than among native Belgians. The unemployment and crime rate is higher as well.

Last year, Catholic University of Louvain published a book by sociologist Felice Dasseto "Iris and the Crescent." It states that by 2030, Muslims will constitute the majority of the population of Brussels. Even today the most popular name among newborn babies in the city is Mohammed. In Antwerp Sharia courts are perfectly legal. Some mullahs openly call parishioners not to merge with Belgian society.

Polls show that the ratio of Muslims in Belgium is one of the highest in Europe. Thus, the statement "there are too many immigrants In our country" is supported by nearly 72 percent of indigenous Belgians. The same number of people believes that immigrants adversely affect development of the country, 68 percent indicate that they are a burden for the social sphere.

The Muslim issue in Belgium has its specificity that makes it different from other European countries. A significant portion of immigrants are from the former colonies of France. They speak one of the official languages ​​(French), but nearly no one teaches the Flemish (Dutch). This causes irritation of the Flemings, and further stimulates the growth of nationalism and separatism among them.

Flemish nationalists are now at the forefront of the fight against radical Islam. The restriction of immigration is the cornerstone of their programs. In the elections in Flanders two years ago, one of such parties (the "New Flemish Alliance") has won. Another party ("Flemish Interest") early this year's started an anti-Islamic campaign. Their posters depicted a girl in a bikini whose head and shoulders were covered with a veil. Under the picture there was the inscription: "Freedom or Islam? Dare to choose."

The recent developments suggest that public policies for adaptation of Muslim immigrants have failed. The specificity of Belgium is that it also contributes to the disintegration of the country. Flemish separatism is already growing. Flemings are already angry that they have to support poorer Walloon regions. Added to that are radical Muslims who speak in broken French and do not know Dutch.

Vadim Trukhachev


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov