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Filip Dewinter, Vlaams Belang. Photo supplied

Belgian security report highlights fresh ‘jihadist wave’

Belgium is facing a terrorism threat with a "wave of jihadism" building from the ongoing Islamic radicalization of inmates in Belgian prisons, according to a new report published by the Belgian State Security Service (VSSE).

Published: February 3, 2019, 9:55 am

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    The risk of Islamic convicts engaging in terrorist acts once they have served their sentences and leave prison, is mounting, the VSSE stated on November 30, 2018.

    “In the coming years,” the report underscored, “the VSSE will be brought to pay particular attention to monitoring detainees convicted of acts of terrorism [after they are] released into freedom”. While it is not known how many radicalized prisoners there are in Belgium, there were 130 inmates sentenced for terrorism or “in preventive detention in the context of a terrorism record” recorded in September 2018.

    “Taking into account the persistent recidivist tendency among former terrorism detainees, never mind radicalized common criminals, Belgium will continue to face a latent terror threat for some time to come,” the report stated.

    Despite the real threat, Belgian intelligence services do not appear to believe that religion is the contributing factor in Islamic terrorism. Instead, the report blames “… real or perceived discrimination, political instability, poor economic conditions, unemployment, level of development”.

    Benjamin Herman, a criminal who converted to Islam in prison and listed by the VSSE as a suspected radical, murdered three people – including two police officers – while out on a 48-hour leave from prison in the Belgian city of Liège in May last year.

    Only one woman was spared because she was Muslim. Herman then shot and wounded four more police officers while shouting “Allahu Akbar.”

    Interior Minister Jan Jambon noted that Herman’s stay in prison was the problem: “There are signs that allow us to speak of radicalization in prison. But it can also be because he had no prospects anymore in our society, as he also committed a murder the night before.”

    At the funeral service in Liège for the two police officers that Benjamin Herman murdered, the Catholic Bishop of Liège, Jean-Pierre Delville, told mourners: “We know that, if Islam has been invoked as the reason to kill, it is because it has been manipulated and held hostage by terrorists and violent people. So, we must help Islam get rid of such manipulative and perverted interpretations, by promoting dialogue and friendship all the time.”

    Not only Delville, but most politicians have tried to present jihad as a notion not tied to religion.

    According to a separate confidential intelligence report leaked to the media last May, mosques where jihad is preached, have also become a security headache.

    A number of them, including the Saudi-financed Great Mosque in Brussels, have been training imams to promote armed jihad. The report notes that the manuals were “inspired mainly by classical Islamic law from the Middle Ages”, and called for “war” on all people who do not follow Sunni Islam.

    “The most important principle of jihad,” one teaching manual said, “is to fight unbelievers and aggressors… Armed jihad becomes an individual duty for every Muslim.” These writings remain widely available “thanks to the unlimited financial and technological means of the proselytizing apparatus of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.”

    Such writings, the report added, were found not only in Belgium but also in neighbouring countries, both in hard copy as well as online.

    Belgium has its own Islamic party, named ISLAM [Integrité, Solidarité, Liberté, Authenticité, Moralité], which has, as its goal, creating an Islamic State, including the separation of men and women in buses. In the 2012 municipal elections, the party won two seats, one of them in Molenbeek. But in the 2018 municipal elections, the party lost its seat in Molenbeek, winning less than 2 percent of the vote because it has not been radical enough.

    In 2017, a leaked confidential report highlighted that there were already 51 jihadist organisations in Molenbeek, a suburb in Brussels. The migrant-populated area has been called the “Jihadi capital of Europe” harboring several wanted jihadists, including those who were behind the 2015 Paris attacks.

    In March 2016, Brussels was the site of a terror attack, when jihadists killed 31 people and wounded around 300 people in the bombings of Brussels Airport and the Maalbeek metro station.

    At a Pegida meeting in Germany last year, Vlaams Belang politician Filip Dewinter warned that Europe is at war with Islam. He argued that “the people” should organise the “resistance and hit back”.

    Dewinter had prepared his entire speech in German. “If the politicians do not want to hear, the people must speak and act. Our resistance movement is the last hope for a German Germany and a European Europe. We have brought in the enemy through mass immigration. The Trojan Horse of Islam terror was brought in by mass immigration. Europe is at war with Islam! ” But, he added: “We are not racists but realists.”

    He added: “Islam is like a predator, always ready to attack the weakest victim.” He also attacked the notion of the multicultural society: “Just as AIDS works on the resistance of a person, multiculturalism undermines the identity and demographic resilience of a people and civilization.”

    The Antwerp leader of Vlaams Belang said the Quran was a “license to kill”.

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