Thursday, November 20, 2008

No-Go Zones in Brussels


In Brussels, several neighborhoods have turned into no-go zones for police officers. Neighborhoods where they can hardly patrol without being pelted with rocks, without being attacked, or without their police vehicles being wrecked. Unsurprisingly, 80% of the people who live in these neighborhoods are of Islamic origin. More often than not, the aggressors are underage.

Police inspectors claim that in several neighborhoods two patrol cars are needed for every intervention. One to carry out the assignment, and another one to prevent the first patrol car from being wrecked. Many police officers avoid these notorious immigrant neighborhoods. Last week a young immigrant was arrested after he stole a car, ran it into multiple police vehicles and tried to run over a female police officer. He admitted the facts and even acknowledged that he tried to kill the police officer. The Belgian court let him go. The female officer suffered severe injuries and will be out for months.

Arrested 145 times, no sentence whatsoever

A Belgian court of law is not an ally of the police officers. Brussels’ policemen have declared in a Flemish magazine that immigrant criminals are arrested dozens of times for armed robberies, car thefts, drug trafficking, etc. Each time, the Public Prosecutor orders their release within a few hours after the arrest. The criminals laugh at the police. One police officer claims he knows a young offender who has been arrested 145 times, but has not spent one minute in jail.

Politics protect offenders

According to the Brussels police officers, they do not receive any support at all from local politicians. In the notorious districts, most mayors belong to the Walloon Socialist Party (PS). When officers are attacked or shot at and ask for reinforcements to be sent, they are always ordered to retreat. One of the officers says: “The mayors do not like the strong approach. In Vorst, Sint-Gillis, or Anderlecht: it is everywhere the same. It is all about votes. In these neighborhoods, 70% to 75 % of the inhabitants are Islamic immigrants. The elections are about one thing only: which party makes sure my child is not sent to jail when he steals a wallet? Well, the PS does that. For many years now!- - - - - - - - -Internal affairsInstead of dealing with these crying abuses and reprimanding the Belgian courts, Belgian politicians react as usual: they criticize press leaks. Whoever dares to denounce the Belgian hush-hush policy has to be punished! In the meantime, Brussels’ officers who want to do their jobs are being constantly intimidated by the police department’s Internal Affaire and Comité P, which investigate every complaint against the officers. They are questioned for hours as if they are the real criminals.The young immigrant criminals charge the officers with racism almost every time they are arrested. As a consequence, many officers resign, become ill, or suffer from depression. The number of suicides in the Belgian police force is also higher than in neighboring countries.Being a police officer in Brussels is no longer a dream job. Nowadays, this profession seems more like “survival of the fittest.”

Internal affairs

Instead of dealing with these crying abuses and reprimanding the Belgian courts, Belgian politicians react as usual: they criticize press leaks. Whoever dares to denounce the Belgian hush-hush policy has to be punished! In the meantime, Brussels’ officers who want to do their jobs are being constantly intimidated by the police department’s Internal Affaire and Comité P, which investigate every complaint against the officers. They are questioned for hours as if they are the real criminals.

The young immigrant criminals charge the officers with racism almost every time they are arrested. As a consequence, many officers resign, become ill, or suffer from depression. The number of suicides in the Belgian police force is also higher than in neighboring countries.

Being a police officer in Brussels is no longer a dream job. Nowadays, this profession seems more like “survival of the fittest.”

By Bart Debie - Gates of Vienna

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Belgian Neo-Fascist movement attacks politicians

The preferred tactics of the “anti-fascist” Left are classically fascist in nature. Rather than engage in spirited debate, they prefer to silence their opponents on the Right by using social pressure, verbal harassment, intimidation, and — if necessary — violence.

This tactic was much in evidence when Filip Dewinter, the prominent Flemish politician from the party Vlaams Belang, was scheduled to participate in a debate at the University of Ghent on October 7th. The storm troopers of Antifa were called out to intercept him, and they violently blocked his access to the auditorium.

The “anti-fascists” were successful in their efforts: the debate was cancelled. But the refreshing news is that Filip Dewinter and his supporters did not hesitate to fight back.

The dedicated efforts of our Flemish correspondent VH have produced the following report on the events in Ghent, based on the Dutch-language news sources and blogs. First, a translation of an article in Het Laatste Nieuws:

Filip Dewinter in a battle with activists in Ghent

Near the auditorium “Blandijn” of Ghent University, a violent uproar occurred before the start of a debate organized by the NSV (Nationalist Students Association). At the entrance of the building a violent confrontation occurred when Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Belang with a score of supporters tried to gain access.

Blows

A group of activists from left-wing student associations had blocked access and kept opponents outside with violence. Both sides then pushed and pulled and there were some blows exchanged.

Admission Rector

It was the first time that the rector had allowed the NSV to organize a debate on the premises of the university. The event was supposed to start at 8:00pm with a debate between Filip Dewinter and Jean-Marie Dedecker (LDD) about the cooperation between the Netherlands and Flanders. However, activists from left-wing student associations had blocked admission to the university building at 6:00pm.Dewinter “debate” at the University of Ghent

Harassment by the extreme left

Dewinter had previously announced that he “would not let himself be intimidated by threats from the extreme-Left”. After consultation with the rector and the police he walked to the blocked entrance with his supporters. In the violent confrontation that resulted both sides exchanged blows and slaps and one supporter of the extreme right sustained a head-wound.
Order Troops

The police were present with fifty troops on the ground, and intervened. With the help of order troops and a water cannon the groups were driven apart.

Attack on freedom of expression

In response Dewinter said the incident was “an attack on freedom of speech”.

“We were struck and beaten because we wanted access to a university for an approved debate. The so-called anti-fascists used fascist methods to try to silence us. This can not be allowed in a democracy.”

Debate canceled

When asked whether he also used violence, Dewinter replied: “If someone hits my face, I do not tend to turn my other cheek.” The debate was canceled. The police are still stationed at the location.

Before the event, Filip Dewinter wrote this on his blog :

I will not be scared away by threats and violence, and I will go tonight to the Blandijnberg [Ghent University] in Ghent.

Filip Dewinter, Geert Wilders, and Jean Marie Dedecker were invited to the debate. Previously, the rector of the RUG [Ghent University] had already announced that Wilders would not be welcome because his safety could not be guaranteed. Meanwhile it became known that extreme leftist organizations planned to prevent the debate by blocking access to the university building. The rectorate of Ghent University took note of this, but refused to make the necessary arrangements for a democratic and authorized debate that would take place in a safe way.

Source: Gates of Vienna

Friday, July 4, 2008

17 Slaves Liberated From Brussels Hotel

We were not allowed to complain or to ask any questions. We just had to be there at their beck and call, claims one of the slaves.

The police raided the luxury Conrad Hotel in Brussels, liberating 17 women who were most likely working as slaves for the Arab royal family, Telegraph reports. Belgian media described the case as “slavery right in the heart of Brussels”.

The investigation was started after a servant, who was working for the widow of the royal family for 20 years, had escaped.

These rescued women come from countries like Morocco, Philippines, India, Turkey, Syria and Iraq, while they were slaves for eight months.

Charges have not been filed, although several members of the royal family were questioned and the police suspect that human trafficking is in question.

- We were not allowed to complain or to ask any questions. We just had to be there at their beck and call - claims one of the slaves who was freed.

The royal family has rented out an entire floor of the luxury hotel where a room is charged 260 pounds per day. The owner did not wish to comment on the case or reveal how much money has the royal family paid for the floor.

From: Javno

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Belgian girl raped at Gare Du Midi in broad daylight for not wearing a muslim veil

Saint-Gilles It is an indignant father, disgusted and outraged, who speaks to us. “My daughter was raped in the Gare du Midi. In Brussels. Capital of Europe. With total impunity.”

It was June 12. “My daughter was returning from Waterloo. It was 9:00 pm. On exiting the train, she headed for the Bancontact.” A public passage. Yet this is where the tragedy took place.

“Right in the middle of a station. But how is this possible?” continues the father of Lola, who is 21 years old. “Two men accused her of not wearing the veil. My daughter is pretty. She is blonde with blue eyes.”

Everything happened very quickly after that. “One of the assailants took out a knife. My daughter was pushed up against the wall of Bancontact. With a knife at her throat, one of the boys raped her. The other watched.”

It was 9:00 pm. It was still light, and outside the station was far from empty. “People were passing by. My daughter is confident that she saw at least three people. None of them stopped to help her.”
The rape ended, and the attackers departed calmly. “They were two North Africans. They did not even wear hoods. And don’t tell me that I am a racist because I mention their origin! My daughter was raped because she was not wearing a veil. That’s the truth!”

Lola went to see her girlfriend. “Do I have to tell you what kind of state she was in?” A few minutes later, the young woman was hospitalized.

Obviously, a complaint was filed. “The police were very professional. Her clothes were removed as evidence. DNA was extracted.”

But, alas, the culprits are still at large… “Following the death of Joe Van Holsbeeck, it was proclaimed loud and clear that there would be more security at stations. With my daughter, you have proof that nothing has changed. There are no cameras around the Gare du Midi, which is still one of the most popular stations.”

Marc is bitter. “I’ll have no more of this Belgium where everything is permitted. It leaves lawless areas like that with young people adrift. These rapists wanted only one thing: to abuse my daughter, to possess and denigrate her because she was not like they hear that girls should be… It’s a disgrace.”
From: Derniere Heure
Translation: Gates of Vienna

Friday, May 30, 2008

“Miss Jihad” Collects Unemployment Benefits

A quote from The International Herald Tribune, 27 May 2008 and The New York Times, 28 May 2008

On the street [in Brussels], Malika El Aroud is anonymous in an Islamic black veil covering all but her eyes. In her living room, El Aroud, a 48-year-old Belgian, wears the ordinary look of middle age: a plain black T-shirt and pants and curly brown hair. The only adornment is a pair of powder-blue slippers monogrammed in gold with the letters SEXY. But it is on the Internet that El Aroud has distinguished herself. Writing in French under the name Oum Obeyda, she has transformed herself into one of the most prominent Internet jihadists in Europe.

She calls herself a female holy warrior for Al Qaeda. She insists that she does not disseminate instructions on bomb-making and has no intention of taking up arms herself. Rather, she browbeats Muslim men to go and fight, and rallies women to join the cause. […] She was detained last December with 13 others in a suspected plot to free a convicted terrorist from prison and to mount an attack in Brussels. But Belgian law required that they be released within 24 hours because no charges were brought and searches failed to turn up weapons, explosives or incriminating documents.

Now, even as El Aroud remains under constant surveillance, she is back home rallying militants on her Web site -- and collecting more than $1,100 a month in government unemployment benefits. "Her jihad is not to lead an operation but to inspire other people to wage jihad," said Glenn Audenaert, the director of Belgium's federal police force. "She enjoys the protection that Belgium offers. At the same time, she is a potential threat."

Born in Morocco, raised from a young age in Belgium, El Aroud [...] operates from her three-room apartment above a clothing shop in a working-class Brussels neighborhood where she spends her time communicating with supporters on her main forum, Minbar-SOS. Although she insists she is not breaking the law, she knows the police are watching. And if the authorities find way to put her in prison, she said: "That would be great. They would make me a living martyr."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

An Old Ghost Is Rising In Belgium: Anti-Semitism And Hatred Of The Jews - Politicians Stage Psycho-drama

On Saturday the 24th of June political 'progressive' activists dressed up in Israeli military uniforms goes through the streets screaming against the people surrounding them and passers by in the city center of Nivelles, a Belgian city situated approximately 30km south from Brussels.

The occasion for this staged psychodrama was Israel's 60 years anniversary to which the organisers wanted to illustrate what their leaflets called the "expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 when Israel was created." and what they called the "disposition of the Palestinian people".

The activists who were dressed up like Israeli soldiers are screaming "You are on our land now, allez, allez, allez, hurry up, on to the trucks", "This is our place" while they are swinging their truncheons and harrassing other activists dressed up as Palestinians and passers by, the children present who are witnessing the whole psychodrama are terrified, some of the activist who are penned around dressed as Palestinians are playing along "We are scared, I got my baby in my apartment" while the 'soldier' is screaming "Move on, move on, hurry up"and to others "Down on your knees" and they are penned towards a stand with the United Nation's UNWRA written on it and ' The Bethlehem refugee camp'.

Terese Snoy, MP from the Ecolo (Greens) told the crowd.

"
I was dumbfunded to witness the pressure of what happened in the municipal of Nivelles. First someone had tried to block the tractor going through the street [pedestrian] and we had to do the second tour on foot. I suppose this illustrates the capacity of the political class which unfortunately will have to submit under the pressure from certain Jewish groups. I imagine this is going on at all level. And maybe this the reason for Belgium's weak positions"

Former Belgian defense minister André Flahaut, a Socialist MP city councillor in Nivelles, compared Israel to a Nazi state.

He starts declaring he is ashamed of the town and he is ashamed of his life and continues:

"Like any normal person, I am revolted when I see children suffering, when I see maltreated women, who are raped, when I see maltreated men and freedoms ridiculed. During the twelve years and half I was minister, I left no stone unturned so that the atrocities against the Jews during WWII be remembered and not forgotten. I also ask that one have the same commitment, the same determination to make that the voice of those who suffer today is heard and to avoid banalization. I am determined to fight against all exclusions, all nazisms, all fascisms wherever they are."

The video have shocked the Jewish community in Belgium and with good reason, it paints a complete false picture of Israel and simplifies the whole Israeli - Palestinian issue, comparing Israel to Nazis is by definition Anti-Semitism - Staging such a psychodrama using the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary leaves more than just a bad taste in the mouth and revokes the spectre of 1938 in 2008 - Telling bystanders that they [the organisers of the psychodrama] had been under pressure and harrassed from 'certain Jewish groups' is yet again awakening an other old ghost from Europe's Nazi past that of the' Zionist Occupied Governments' and Hitler's 'Jugentum'.

The Israeli Embassy has got this to say to the European Jewish Press

"This demonstration, which trivializes and simplifies the Mideast situation, and during which the organizers didn’t not hesitate to manipulate the public, presented a negative and untrue image of Israel," the Israeli embassy deplored Wednesday in a statement.


"Under cover of criticism and free expression, certain associations and certain political representatives make every effort since several years to spread shameful and intolerable confusion," the embassy said.

"By acting this way, these associations are taking an active part in importing a regional conflict in the streets of Belgium and are feeding anti-Semitism."

The embassy called on the Belgian authorities "for more vigilance in the face of such outbursts which are inciting to hatred."


Andre Flahaut who you can watch on the YouTube making his speech later denied he had made any Anti-Jewish comments.

"Psychodrame Nakba" à Nivelles



Transcript of Andre Flahaut's speech:

Andre Flahaut:
"Bonjour à tous et tout d'abord effectivement je suis conseiller communal de cette ville et je
suis honteux pour cette ville et je suis honteux de ma ville."

"Parce que lorsque l'on interdit une manifestation ou une expression, je considère ça comme une dérive dangereuse."

"Je suis, comme toute personne normalement constituée, révolté lorsque je vois des enfants souffrir, lorsque je vois des femmes maltraitées, violées, lorsque je vois des hommes maltraités, des libertés bafouées."

"Pendant les douze ans et demi où j'ai été ministre, j'ai mis tout en œuvre aussi pour que l'on n'oublie pas et qu'on se souvienne des atrocités dont le peuple juif a été victime pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale."

"On a eu cet engagement et donc je demande aussi que l'on aie le même engagement, la même détermination, la même volonté pour faire entendre la voix de celles et de ceux qui aujourd'hui souffrent, pour faire en sorte que l'on évite la banalisation."

"Je suis déterminé à lutter contre toutes les exclusions, tous les nazismes, tous les fascismes où qu'ils se trouvent et au moment où ils se présentent."

"Voilà, c'est pour ça que je suis ici"

More: European Jewish press

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ethnic War in Brussels: Moroccans Attack "Whites"


On Friday evening (today), riots broke out in the streets of Brussels between Moroccan youths and supporters of football club RSC Anderlecht. On Thursday evening, a blog had called for attacks on the "white" supporters of the club, and "to burn pubs, houses and cars."

The official story is that the problems began last Sunday, after the Belgian Cup Final between RSC Anderlecht and AA Gent. RSC Anderlecht won the Cup, but after the match its supporters and Moroccan youths had clashed near the metro station of Sint-Guido nearby the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium where the match was played. Since then, the atmosphere had been tense in and around the Brussels borough of Anderlecht, but on Thursday a blog was created on Blogspot calling for attacks on the "white" supporters of the football club and to burn pubs, houses and cars.

There may be more to this story than the media are telling us. In a reaction to a blog posting by an Anderlecht supporter, who uses the nickname da reflect, provides a clue to the reason why riots between Moroccans and supporters of Anderlecht broke out on Sunday evening: Someone, using the name RSCA SpideY, asks whether today's riots have something to do with "that Moroccan guy who tried to rob an Anderlecht supporter on Sunday evening and was beaten up by other RSC Anderlecht supporters afterwards." There is no confirmation of this story in the mainstream media, but they are not citing any other reason why riots broke out on Sunday.

Another interesting aspect of the story is that there is no information about the author of the inciting blog. It seems remarkable that the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (CEOOR, a government body) has not yet commented on the case yet since the posting clearly must have been in violation with the Belgian anti-discrimination laws. According to the press, the word "white" was specifically mentioned in the posting. One would expect that the CEOOR would leave no stone unturned to find out who the author is and bring him to court. Others have received warrants, in a "knock on the door" fashion for articles that were far less offensive or explicit, as the readers of this website know. I could not find the address or a copy of the blog posting, so I assume it has already been removed from Blogspot's servers.

Source: Brusselsjournal

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Belgium-based Moroccan behind dismantled "terror network"

RABAT, May 21 (Xinhua) -- A Moroccan national living in Brussels was the mastermind behind a "terrorist network" involving11 people that was dismantled by Moroccan security forces earlier this week, a Moroccan newspaper has reported.

The Moroccan police had moved in to arrest the members of the network Monday "after receiving credible information regarding the activities of Abdellatif Bekkali, a Brussels-based Moroccan," the independent Arabic daily Assabah reported Tuesday.

"Abdellatif Bekkali had been instrumental in sending Moroccans, Algerians and Belgians to fight in Iraq. The group included Issam Goris, a Moroccan native of Meknes (center), who was killed in a suicide attack in the suburbs of Baghdad," said the daily quoting "anonymous security sources."

Issam Goris was the husband of Muriel Degauque, a Belgian national who in 2005 became the first Westerner to commit a suicide attack in Iraq, according to reliable sources.

But the Moroccan police are not denying or confirming the newspaper reports, only reiterating that "investigations into the activities of the suspected terror network are still going on" and that "more arrests could be made."

The alleged network was planning to launch attacks against targets in both Morocco and Belgium, police sources were quoted assaying Monday by the official Moroccan News Agency (MAP).

Chief among the high-profile targets included a building belonging to the European Union and a hotel in Brussels, the Belgian VRT radio reported Monday evening citing anonymous security sources.

"The Moroccan police had been informed that Bekkali had established a network in Nador, northern Morocco, and had managed to send a group of several young Moroccans to train in Al-Qaeda-run camps in Algeria," according to the Moroccan newspaper.

According to investigations conducted jointly by the Belgian and Moroccan police, said Assabah, Bekkali sent money via an agency to finance the travel of a group of Moroccans to Algeria and Mauritania for training in Al-Qaeda camps, before eventually sending them to Iraq.

Bekkali, according to Moroccan intelligence circles, "is regarded as a relative of Mohamed Reha, a Belgian of Moroccan origin" who was arrested in an anti-terrorism operation in Moroccoin 2005.

Reha and his uncle Ahmed Zemmouri, both Belgians of Moroccan origin, were among a group of 21 Islamists sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to ten years for "constitution of a criminal gang with the purpose of committing terrorist acts" in Morocco.

Source: XinhuaNet

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Belgium: Fundamentalists infiltrated integration business

A former social worker from Boom (Antwerp) is sounding the alarm. "The integration sector is infiltrated by Muslim fundamentalists." he says. Minister Marino Keulen is shocked and announces regulations.

The story of Peter Calluy started off in 2004. He then convinced his party, SP.A, to appoint him as social worker on the streets. He would build bridges between the ethnic Belgians and the immigrants, Muslims and people of other faiths. At the same time SP.A municipal counsellor Saïd Touhafi started a youth project El Islaah at De Dijk youth center. It went wrong quickly. Calluy: I got statement like 'all homos against the wall'. The administration of El Islaah in the youth center said: "You Belgians protect the homos so that our youth run the risk of becoming homo." In the end all other youth associations left the youth center, including the homo association Eksit.

Touhafi and the chairman of El Islaah, Fouad Belkacem, incited the youth. "They thought the attack in Madrid succeeded well and after the death of (Hamas leader) Sheikh Yassin they demonstrated with the Arab-European League (AEL) of Dyab Abou Jahjah." Touhafi, then still SP. A counsellor said himself: Oh, it's a question of time, Sharia will be implemented here.

After a confrontation in the SP.A party office Saïd Touhafi resigned. He moved to the Democratic Muslim Party of Abou Jahjah, the successor of the AEL. Calluy: In the end the youth center was closed after the counselors were cursed as "dirty whore" during a visit.
A request by the Mechelen youth center Rzoezie to open a new youth center for immigrants in Boom was refused. Minister of Welfare Inge Vervotte nevertheless already put aside 70,000 euro.

In the municipal elections of 2006, Vlaams Belang became the largest party in Boom, with 29.7%. The mosaic municipal counsel now has a hard, repressive policy of zero tolerance. The chasm between the different communities is even greater.

Flemish minister of integration Marino Keulen (VLD) was shocked at Calluy's report. He announced that personnel of non profits who are active in the integration sector will get a "norms and values" course.

Source: Oracle

Belgium teeters on a linguistic edge slowly breaking up

If Belgium vanishes one day, it will be because of little towns like this one, where Flemish politicians are riding a new wave of nationalism and pushing for an independent state.

Liedekerke has only 12,000 inhabitants, but its elected council has caused a stir by insisting on the “Flemish nature” of the town. Not only must all town business and schooling take place in Flemish, true throughout Flanders, but children who cannot speak the language can be prohibited from holiday outings, like hikes and swimming classes.

“België Barst!” says the graffiti on a bridge near the train station, or “Belgium Bursts!” the cry of the nationalists who want an independent Flanders. But here they also want to keep the rich French speakers from Brussels — only 13 miles away and 15 minutes by train — from buying up this pretty landscape and changing the nature of the town.

Marc Mertens, 53, is the full-time secretary of the town, a professional manager who works under the elected, but part-time, town council. Sitting in a cafe near the old church — Liedekerke is thought to mean “church on the little hill” — he describes how his grandfather fought in World War I under officers who gave commands only in French. “And then they would say in French: ‘For the Flemish, the same!’ ” The phrase still rankles, and Mr. Mertens’s grandfather, a bilingual teacher, refused an officer’s commission on principle.

Mr. Mertens, a handsome, genial man, is worried about his town.

“Brussels is coming this way,” he said, explaining that the people here, having gained some autonomy, do not want to be overwhelmed again by another French-speaking ascendancy. More schoolchildren, taught in Flemish, have French-speaking parents. “When I was young I never heard a foreign language here,” he said. “Now every day I meet people speaking French.”

Marleen Geerts, 48, a computer-science teacher of 13-year-olds, said teaching French-speakers took time. “You can’t go on with the material if they don’t understand it,” she said. “It’s a struggle.” Her school provides language tutoring.

[...]

“We don’t want Liedekerke to become like a suburb of Paris,” Mr. Daelman said, describing the riots, car burnings and attacks on the police by mostly African immigrants to France. “Big city problems are coming here, and we want to stop it.”

[...]

Flemish nationalists have another complaint. Flemish are 60 percent of Belgium’s population, and inhabit the richest part, with much lower unemployment than the French-speaking Wallonia part. “The French speakers used to rule us, ” Mr. Daelman said. Now, in the national government, he added, “It’s not the principle of one man, one vote, and every problem in Belgium now becomes a problem of the communities. It’s a surrealistic spectacle, and the best answer is to divide the country.”

Full story: IHT

Friday, April 18, 2008

Belgium has become an important center for the global Muslim Brotherhood

[Belgium has become an important center for the global Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Since its origins in early student organizations, the Belgian Brotherhood network has grown to include Hamas support infrastructure and local Islamic groups that in turn are part of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), the global Muslim Brotherhood umbrella group in Europe. Belgium also serves as the FIOE national office. One individual, Bassem Hatahet, appears to be the most important figure in the Belgian Muslim Brotherhood.]

Background

The Global Muslim Brotherhood has been present in Europe since 1960 when Said Ramadan, the grandson of Hassan Al-Banna, founded a mosque in Munich.1 Since that time, Brotherhood organizations have been established in almost all of the EU countries, as well as non-EU countries such as Russia and Turkey. Despite operating under other names, some of the organizations in the larger countries are recognized as part of the global Muslim Brotherhood. For example, the Union des Organizations Islamiques de France (UOIF) is generally regarded as part of the Muslim Brotherhood in France. The network is also becoming known in some of the smaller countries such as the Netherlands, where a recent NEFA Foundation report detailed the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in that country.

2 Neighboring Belgium has also become an important center for the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. A 2002 report by the Intelligence Committee of the Belgian Parliament explained how the Brotherhood operates in Belgium:
“The State Security Service has been following the activities of the International Muslim Brotherhood in Belgium since 1982. The International Muslim Brotherhood has had a clandestine structure for nearly 20 years. The identity of the members is secret; they operate in the greatest discretion. They seek to spread their ideology within the Islamic community of Belgium and they aim in particular at the young people of the second and third generation of immigrants. In Belgium as in other European countries, they try to take control of the religious, social, and sports associations and establish themselves as privileged interlocutors of the national authorities in order to manage Islamic affairs. The Muslim Brotherhood assumes that the national authorities will be pressed more and more to select Muslim leaders for such management and, in this context, they try to insert within the representative bodies, individuals influenced by their ideology. With this purpose, they were very actively.

1 Ian Johnson, “How a Mosque for Ex-Nazis Became Center of Radical Islam,” The Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2005.

2 Ron Sandee, “The Influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Netherlands,” The NEFA Foundation, December 2007.

Nine Eleven / Finding Answers (NEFA) Foundation – ©2008

http://www.nefafoundation.org

www.nefafoundation.org – info@nefafoundation.org 2

involved in the electoral process to carry out the election of the members of the chief body for the management of Islam in Belgium. Another aspect of this strategy is to cause or maintain tensions by positing that a Muslim or Islamic association is a victim of Western values, hence the affair over the Muslim headscarf in public schools.“3 4

Three factors have contributed to this development in Belgium. First, high concentrations of Arabic-speaking, immigrant populations are a natural support base for the Muslim Brotherhood and Belgium has such a large and concentrated Islamic populations estimated at about 400,000, which is about 4% of the total population.
5 The majority of these are Arabs, mainly Moroccans who have settled mostly in Brussels and the French-speaking areas of the South with about half living in the Brussels conurbation. This has brought the percentage of Muslims in Brussels to approximately 17%.6 Second, the presence of important EU institutions in Brussels is a logical attractor for any Muslim organization with aspirations for achieving legitimacy at the Europe-wide level. Finally, the Belgian government is the only European government not to have acted against the local branch of a Hamas fund-raising organization, discussed later in this report, with strong ties to the Brotherhood, allowing it to operate freely while branches in other countries were shut down or restricted.

In addition to these factors, the Belgian government appears to have created a power vacuum in the Muslim community by ending its relationship with the Saudi-sponsored Islamic Cultural Center of Brussels (ICCB). Founded in 1969, the ICCB is chaired by the Saudi Ambassador and receives most of its funding from the Saudi Muslim World League. Until 1990, the ICCB had been treated by the Belgian government as the official representative of the Muslim Community in Belgian and allowed it to recommend imams and teachers who were then appointed by the government. However, opposition to the ICCB from the local Muslim community forced an end to its role, and in 1994, the government appointed a committee of 17 Muslims called "De Belgische Moslim Executieve" in Dutch or "L'Exécutif des musulmans de Belgique" in French.7 The newly created organization took over the role of the ICCB in appointing teachers and imams and served as the basis for an election at the end of 1998 that created the Representative Council of the Belgian Muslim Communities, the officially recognized organization of Muslims in Belgium.8 Although participants in these organizations were vetted by the Belgian government to weed out extremists, the jockeying for power that took place attracted the interest of the Muslim Brotherhood, which may have created organizations in order to further its legitimacy.
The environment resulting from these factors fostered the creation of a set of interrelated institutions that constitute the Muslim Brotherhood in Belgium today. The remainder of this report will examine these institutions, paying special attention to their structure, leadership, and public activities. It is important to note that almost none of the organizations or individuals that are part of the global Muslim Brotherhood identify 3 Sénat et Chambre des Représentants de Belgique, Session De 2001-2002, Rapport d'activité 2001 du Comité permanent de contrôle des services de renseignements et de sécurité, 19 Juillet 2002, http://www.senate.be/www/?MIval=/publications/viewPubDoc&TID=33618007&LANG=fr
4 http://www.comiteri.be/rapports/rapport2001def_nl.pdf.

5 “Islam & Muslims in Europe,” euro-islam.info/pages/belgium.html.
6 http://www.briobrussel.be/assets/andere%20publicaties/en_35_bs4en.pdf
7
“Islam in the Benelux Countries” in Shireen T. Hunter (ed.), Islam, Europe's Second Religion: The

New Social, Cultural, and Political Landscape.

8 Lionel Panafit, “First for Islam in Belgium,” Le Monde Diplomatique, June 2000.

Nine Eleven / Finding Answers (NEFA) Foundation – ©2008
http://www.nefafoundation.org
www.nefafoundation.org – info@nefafoundation.org
3

themselves as such and no doubt, if asked, would deny any such connection. It is therefore necessary to establish such a connection to the Muslim Brotherhood through analysis of factors that include the history, affiliations, ideology, and backgrounds of the organizations under question and their leaders. It should further be noted that this kind of structural analysis is, by nature, limited and can only reveal the public structure of a Muslim Brotherhood network. As the Belgian parliamentary report explained, the global Muslim Brotherhood operates clandestinely and these clandestine structures are not normally accessible through examination of the public record. In the U.S., for example, previously secret documents have recently come to light that revealed an extensive and covert Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure in that country.9 Nevertheless, public information can provide a great deal of useful information about Brotherhood structures, leadership, and activities and can point the way for investigators with access to non-public information.

Early Student Organizations

Muslim Brotherhood networks often began as student and/or youth organizations and Belgium was no exception. The earliest known Muslim Brotherhood organization was the Association Humanitaire pour la Promotion de la Jeunesse (AHPJ).10 Founded in May 1988, the AHPJ was identified as one of a number of Muslim Brotherhood organizations operating under other names by a July 2002 report of the Belgian parliamentary Intelligence Committee.11 Bassem Hatahet, later to become one of the most important individuals in the Belgian Muslim Brotherhood network, was elected as the Secretary of the AHPJ in January 1991, serving in that position until November 1996.12 13 This report also says that the AHPJ was also operating under the name Union Islamique des Etudiants et de la Jeunesse en Belgique (UIEJB), which Belgian records show was founded in April 1995 and dissolved in February 2000.14 15 In February 1999, Bassem Hatahet attended a conference in Kuwait where he was described as being affiliated with the Islamic Students Union in Belgium, likely the UIEJB.16
The Belgian parliamentary report describes the student organizations as:
“...also close to the Turkish movement ‘Milli Gorüs’. These associations publish a newspaper which propagates anti-Western ideas and anti-Zionists. They actively supported the Muslim cause in Afghanistan by the collection of funds and the exchanges were made with the ‘Office of Afghan Mujahideen in Brussels’. They organize camps where immigrants of second and third generations are indoctrinated.”

Read more: UP Pompeii

Friday, April 4, 2008

Poisonous dioxins 3-5 times higher in Belgian backyard chickens

Eggs from backyard/garden chickens in Belgium are not so healthy, reports Belgium newspaper De Morgen. These eggs contain 3-5 times more poisonous dioxins than battery chickens.

This was the conclusion drawn from a national research study by scientists from the universities of Antwerp, Ghent and Liège.
Those who eat the eggs from their own backyard chickens are at greater risk of developing health problems compared to those who eat eggs from chickens reared in battery or free-range housing systems. These were the findings of national research done by the Scientific Institute for National Health ('Wetenschappelijk Instituut van Volksgezondheid'), according to the newspaper.
Researchers from the universities of Antwerp, Ghent and Liège, together with researchers from the Centre of Research in Animal Health and Agro-chemistry (Centrum voor Onderzoek in Diergeneeskunde en Agrochemie) analysed hundreds of samples taken from chicken owners throughout Belgium.
The eggs from backyard poultry contained 3-5 times more dioxins than the allowed European level. Additionally, the eggs contained very high levels of lead, as well as the dangerous insecticide DDT, which has been banned for several years.

Source: World Poultry

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Belgium: Not a Model to Follow

Belgium's linguistic communities pay a high price for sticking together, resorting to fudges that range from the silly to the destructive. Put like that, you can see Belgium's new government not as a relief, but as an awful warning. A political union hatched together by a fractious elite, and answerable only to itself, is not a model for anybody to follow.

From: The Brussels Journal

Freedom Of Speech In Belgium? Not any longer, Fredom of Expression and Thought is dead in Belgium.

Today in neighbouring Belgium the government’s anti-discrimination body CEOOR warned bloggers and websites to remove their links to Wilders’s movie. The CEOOR states that the movie aims to foster “fear, distrust and hatred of Muslims.” The anti-discrimination body has asked the Belgians to be “vigilant” and to report “cases of incitement to hatred and/or discrimination.”

Meanwhile, it has become clear that only 144 of the 785 members of the European Parliament have supported the proposal of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Dutch politician who lives in hiding following death threats from Islamists, to establish a European fund to protect people who are stalked by assassins for their opinions. Ms Hirsi Ali is under de facto house arrest because the Dutch authorities are only willing to protect her while she remains in the Netherlands, but not when she travels abroad. Due to the lack of protection she is confined to hide-outs in the Netherlands.
Last month, Henk Hofland, a leading Dutch journalist, proposed that the Dutch authorities lift the police protection of Geert Wilders, another politician whom radical Muslims want to assassinate for his opinions. Several Dutch individuals and organizations have lodged complaints against Mr Wilders for incitement to racial hatred because he made a 15-minute film, called Fitna, to express his views about Islam.

Full story and source: The Brussels Journal

Monday, March 24, 2008

Brussels: Possible Muslim majority in 15-20 years

Olivier Servaix, sociologist at Université catholique de Louvain, said in an interview to La Libre Belgique last week that Brussels, would have a Muslim majority in 15-20 years, due to the community's high birth-rate. According to Servaix, a third of the population of Brussels is Muslim. Since 2001, Mohammed is the most popular name for new-born boys.

Mahfoud Romdhani, a local parliamentarian, says that this projection should be taken carefully, since not all immigrants from Muslim countries are Muslim, or practicing Muslims.

Though this might be true, the youth are showing a return to Islam, and about 75% of Muslims consider themselves practicing today.

Molenbeek is one of the most Muslim suburbs of Brussels. Philippe Moureaux, the mayor of Molenbeek has done much to reach to his Muslim constituency, such as creating a council of mosques subsidized by the municipality, or opening the municipality slaughterhouse during the Eid al-Adha.

Servias says that currently it is peaceful, but there might come a day of social explosion, and somebody might also try to capitalize on the high unemployment in Brussels, over 20%, which affects mainly the Muslim population.

Jean-Francois Bastin (65), a Belgian convert to Islam who now calls himself Abu Abdullah Abdulaziz Bastin, founded the Party of Young Muslims (PJM, Parti Jeunes Musulmans) in 2004. Bastin believes that immigrants should stop feeling colonized and that it's now time for Belgium to adapt. He wants more visible mosques, calls to prayer, schools and retirement homes. The party received less than 5,000 votes in the previous local elections in its two districts, Molenbeek and Anderlecht.

Source: Islam in Europe
Source: Le Figaro (French)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Victims Of Moroccan Islamist Identified

On February 18 this year, Moroccan authorities arrested several individuals, claiming that they belonged to an "Islamist network". Initially 23 persons were apprehended, with that number soon rising to 32. The leader of the group was identified as Abdelkader Belliraj, an individual who had spent some time in Belgium.

On February 20, Morocco's Interior Minister Chakib Benmoussa gave a press conference. He claimed that during raids, weaponry had been recovered. This included nine Kalashnikovs, two Uzi machine guns replete with six magazines and a silencer, seven Skorpio sub-machine pistols with ten chargers and 5 silencers, 16 automatic pistols and other munitions and detonators.

Benmoussa said the Islamist network had financed itself through crime, with proceeds from a 2001 robbery at the HQ of Brinks, Luxembourg being smuggled into Morocco. The amount from this raid was nearly $4 million. The money was then laundered through businesses, tourism projects and real estate. Jewellery stolen in Belgium was also smuggled into Morocco where it was melted down into gold ingots.

Benmoussa said the group had been in contact with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2001. From 2001 to 2004 it was linked to the Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain, or GICM. In 2001, 2003 and 2004 the group had links with the GSPC (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat) in Algerian terror training camps in 2005.

Belliraj's group had tried to get terrorist training from the Hizbullah-run camps in Lebanon in 2002. The Interior Minister said that the "Belliraj" network was planning to use explosives in terror attacks, to assassinate Moroccan ministers, civil officials, military heads and some Moroccan Jewish citizens. Belliraj had set up the terror network in 1992, and in 1996 the group had also tried to assassinate Moroccan Jewish citizens, and had planned other attacks between 1992 and 2005.

Chakib Benmoussa also said that Belliraj, using aliases "Ilyass" and "Abdelkrim" carried out six murders in Belgium between 1986 and 1989.

By the end of the week, it was confirmed that investigators in Belgium were investigating the claims about the six killings. Now, according to FlandersNews via Expatica, the identities of the six victims have been clarified.

Belliraj usually acted on his own in his killings, preferably using a 7.65 mm revolver, but sometime he would be helped by an accomplice who was known as Bekti. This accomplice is one of the people who were arrested in Morocco on February 18 - 19.

Apparently Abdelkader Belliraj confessed to carrying out or ordering the six killings after he had been confronted with evidence gathered from other suspects by Moroccan investigators.

Already, the identities of three of the victims have been revealed. They include Saudi Arabian Abdullah al-Ahdal, the rector of the Grand Mosque in Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels, and his assistant, Tunisian-born Salim el-Beher.

Al-Ahdal and his assistant had criticized the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini against Salman Rushdie. This had been issued on February 14, 1989. On March 30, 1989, al-Ahdal and el-Beher were shot dead at close range. They were both hit in the head and neck in the Grand Mosque's office.

Later in the same year, 48-year old Joseph Wibran, the president of the co-ordination committee of Jewish organisations in Belgium (CCOJB) became one of Belliraj's alleged victims. Mr Wibran worked as head of the immunology department at Erasme Hospital in Anderlecht, Brussels. On October 3, 1989, he was killed in the parking area outside this hospital.

Around this time, Belliraj also murdered victim number 4, the odd-job man who worked at the Saudi Embassy in Brussels. This man is said to be the Egyptian chauffeur to the Saudi ambassador in Brussels.

Another named victim was a Jewish greengrocer called Raoul Schouppe, who worked in the vicinity of Brussels South station. Additionally he met his sixth victim in this region, at a restaurant. This victim, a 53-year old gay man, had apparently tried to proposition Belliraj. The victim's body was later dumped in Braine-le-Chateau in Walloon Brabant.

Strangely, despite attacking Jews and plotting terror attacks, Belliraj had also worked as an informant. De Tijd newspaper claimed on its website earlier this month that Belliraj's information had also provided "crucial information" to Belgium's intelligence services. Some of this information had allowed them to "foil an attack in another European country". The name of this other country has not been named.

It appears that Belliraj was paid for providing this information.

Source: Western Resistance.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ex-Model Waris Dirie Found Safe in Belgium

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Police on Friday found Waris Dirie, three days after the Somali-born model who launched a worldwide campaign against female genital mutilation had vanished.

Dirie, 43, appeared to be in good health and was being questioned by police about the disappearance, said Estelle Arpigny, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office.

She declined to give further details, saying it was unclear what had happened since Dirie vanished early Wednesday. Belgian media reports said police found her Friday afternoon walking the Brussels' Grand Place square.

Hours earlier, police had announced they were launching a nationwide search for the former model, who had last been seen getting into a cab after a mix-up over a hotel.

Dirie gained international fame as a model posing in Chanel ads and acting in the 1987 James Bond movie "The Living Daylights" before launching her campaign against female genital mutilation in 1996.

She shocked the world with a best-selling book "Desert Flower" that described how her genitals were sliced off with a dirty razor blade without anesthesia, and then stitched together.

Now a U.N. goodwill ambassador, she was due to speak on genital mutilation in Brussels at two conferences on women's rights organized by the European Union, including one on Thursday attended by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

News of Dirie's disappearance came a week after French police said they had found the body of another former model of African origin who had campaigned against female genital mutilation. Guinean-born Katoucha Niane was discovered floating in the River Seine in Paris.

The French police said an autopsy showed no signs of foul play, raising the possibility that she may have fallen accidentally into the river. However, Katoucha's family members say they suspect homicide.

Dirie's manager, Walter Lutschinger, said she had been involved in an altercation in a hotel reception area after a taxi driver took her to the wrong branch of the Sofitel hotel chain. The police were called and drove Dirie around Brussels looking for the correct hotel because she had apparently forgotten where she was staying.

Read the rest from: Fox News.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Waris Dirie, former model and women’s rights campaigner, reported missing.




March 7, 2008

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Waris Dirie, a former model who has campaigned against female genital mutilation and written an international best-seller about her experiences, is missing, police and her manager said Friday.

Dirie, 43, has not been seen since early Wednesday when police saw her getting into a taxi in Brussels, manager Walter Lutschinger said in a telephone interview.

“We are really very scared,” said Lutschinger, who has been her manager for seven years.

Dirie - who was born in Somalia and now lives in Vienna, Austria - gained international fame as a model posing in Chanel ads and acting in a James Bond film before launching her campaign against female genital mutilation in 1996.

She recounted her own experiences of suffering genital mutilation as a child in the book “Desert Flower,” which became an international best-seller.

Dirie was due to speak to two conferences on women’s rights organized by the European Union in Brussels this week, including one Thursday attended by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Dirie’s disappearance comes a week after French police said they’d found the body of another former model of African origin who had campaigned against female genital mutilation.

Guinean-born Katoucha Niane’s body was found floating in the Seine River in Paris. French police said an autopsy showed no signs of foul play, pointing to the possibility that the 47-year-old Niane may have fallen accidentally into the river.

On Friday, Belgian police launched an official missing persons appeal for Dirie, asking the public for information. The police said they also were looking for the taxi driver that took her from the area between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.

Lutschinger said Dirie had been involved in an altercation at a hotel reception after a taxi driver had taken her to the wrong branch of the Sofitel hotel chain after a visit to a night club. The police were called and drove Dirie around Brussels looking for the correct hotel, after she had apparently forgotten where she was staying.

At one hotel, while staff and police were checking for her name on a computer, Dirie walked out and climbed into a taxi that drove away, Lutschinger said police told him.

He said hotel staff told him Dirie had said she was going to buy cigarettes before getting into the vehicle. Lutschinger said he thought she was carrying little money and no identification documents or cell phone when she vanished.

Dirie’s description of how she underwent genital mutilation without anesthesia as a child shocked those who knew her from glossy fashion magazine covers, Chanel perfume ads and her role in “The Living Daylights,” a 1987 James Bond film.

She chronicled her own experience in a best-selling autobiography, “Desert Flower,” and three sequels, “Desert Dawn,” “Desert Children” and “Nomad’s Daughter,” and served as a U.N. goodwill ambassador to fight the practice.

“There are millions of children - young, hopeless, desperate - who need help, a voice, somebody, somewhere,” she told The Associated Press in a 2005 interview.

Dirie was due to travel to the Netherlands to receive an award Friday in the town of Kerkrade.

By PAUL AMES , Associated Press and Aoife White.

___

On the Net:

Waris Dirie Foundation: http://www.waris-dirie-foundation.com

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Missing Irishman's dead body 'found' and identified in Brussels City Morgue after ten days of search

Brussels March 6: The family of an Irishman who went missing in Belgium over a week ago say they have identified his body.

33-year-old Conor Synnott from Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, disappeared in the early hours of 23 February.

His family began searching for Mr Synnott the next day with the help of the Belgian police.

Mr Synnott's body was found by police later that day close to where he had last been seen, near the Courts of Justice.

Today Belgian police asked the family to identify the body, which had been at the city morgue for the past ten days.

Mr Synnott had been living in Brussels since last August.

His family said he had been suffering from depression in recent months.

Source: RTE News.
===
News story from 3rd of March 2008: Search continues for missing Irishman.


Belgium drops Myanmar rights case against Total


BRUSSELS (AFP) — Belgian authorities dropped Wednesday a legal case brought by refugees from Myanmar targetting the French oil group Total, which they accused of crimes against humanity, their lawyer said.

Investigators looking in to the matter "declared the case closed," lawyer Xavier Deswaef told AFP, describing the decision as "surreal".

Although his clients could lodge one final appeal against the decision, they would "think twice before" pursuing further action, Deswaef said.

Last October, Belgian authorities reopened the long-running case in which the refugees accused Total of having used forced labour provided by the military regime to build a gas pipeline.

The four refugees accuse Total of having provided logistic and financial support in the 1990s to the military junta, which they hold responsable for forced labour, deportations, murder, arbitrary executions and torture.

Total has also faced legal action in France against its labour practices in Myanmar, where it has operated since 1992.

But last year the group was cleared of charges in France that it relied on forced labour to build the 1.2-billion-dollar (785-billion-euro) gas pipeline after an out-of-court settlement with the alleged victims.

The Belgian case has run for six years, during which changes to the law have muddied the judicial waters.

However, the court ruled that the defendants should benefit from a 2005 decision in their favour, even though the relevant legislation had subsequently been toughened up.

Source: AFP.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Belgium Donates 86 millions Euros For Funding Terrorism

Ramallah 5 March 2008, Belgium is giving 86 million Euros in funding in favor of the Palestinians over the next 4 years, due to a convention concluded yesterday in Ramallah between the Belgian Minister of 'Cooperation and Development' Charles Michel and the Palestinian Minister of the 'plan' Samir Abdullah.
The biggest slice of the sum, 50 million Euros will be transferred directly to the Palestinian Authorities, the rest, 36 million Euros will serve to fund urgent actions, alimentary aid, for UN offices and certain NGO's active in Palestine.

Charles Michel insisted that the new axis of cooperation Belgo-Palestinian has got two priorities, education and upkeep of the local governance of Palestine.

Source: Metrotime.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Heavy jail term for pornographer who filmed daughters


A Belgian court handed a child pornographer the maximum jail term of at least 10 years for making films of his daughters for a worldwide network, a report said.

The court in Bruges, western Belgium, condemned the 37-year-old named only as Pascal T. and laid down the 10-year sentence with the possibility of another 10 years behind bars if the government sees fit, the Belga news agency reported.

The convict's wife was sentenced to a suspended two-year sentence for "negligence".

The case, codenamed "Koala" dates back to 2004. It came to light in 2006 with the discovery in Australia of a video of a young Dutch-speaking girl.

That detail led to the arrest of Pascal T., the father of the girl in the film, who lived in Dutch-speaking Bruges.

The child porn network was fed mainly from films made in Ukraine, but other material was produced in the Netherlands as well as Belgium.

According to judicial sources customers could order tailor-made videos and girls as young as nine have been identified on the films, according to Eurojust.

Pascal T., had set up a studio at his home where he filmed his two young daughters, aged nine and 11 a the time, being abused.

Several suspects were picked up in Belgium, including Victor Hissel, a former lawyer for families of victims of child killer Marc Dutroux, who was charged on Monday with possessing child pornography.

His crime carries a possible one-year prison term.

Source: MSN.

Turkish parliamentary speaker slams Belgian court decision on terrorism

All countries should fight together against the global scourge of terrorism, said Toptan.

ANKARA - The speaker of the Turkish parliament has lashed out at the decision of a Belgian court to released a number of members of a far left wing Turkish terror group, saying the ruling was terrifying.

Parliamentary speaker Koksal Toptan said the decision by the court in Anvers on Thursday indicated that Belgium did not recognise the DHKP-C as a terrorist organisation.

“It is terrifying for such a verdict to come out of Belgium, one of the most important centers of Europe. A mentality assuming someone innocent because they have not committed any crime in Belgium cannot partake in fight against global terrorism,” Toptan said.

On Thursday, the Anvers court ruled that convictions be quashed against a number of members of the DHKP-C who were either being held in Belgium or were wanted on various charges.

Source: MSNBC.

Morocco busts al Qaeda-linked terror network funded by crime in Belgium


PARIS, France (AP) -- Morocco's government said it has dismantled a terrorist network that had plotted to assassinate Cabinet ministers and members of the North African kingdom's Jewish community.

Authorities believe the network has links to al Qaeda and local terror groups, the official MAP news agency said late Wednesday. A total of 32 people were arrested in sweeps this week, Moroccan newspapers said.

Morocco also has banned an Islamist political party, Al Badil Al Hadari, because some members were linked to the network, the Interior Ministry said.

The network raised money by waging holdups, selling stolen goods and taking contributions from its members, the ministry said in a statement issued Wednesday.

One suspected member of the group, with help from criminals in Europe, carried out a heist of an armored truck in Luxembourg in 2000, netting the group $25.65 million, it said.

Gold jewelry stolen in Belgium was melted down by a goldsmith who belonged to the network and then sold, the ministry statement said.

The group had plotted to assassinate Cabinet ministers, army officers and members of the Jewish community, the ministry said. Only a few thousand Jews still live in the Muslim kingdom, as many have emigrated to Israel and elsewhere.

Among those arrested was the group's suspected leader, Abdelkader Belliraj, who Interior Minister Chakib Benoussa said had links with al Qaeda and local terror groups.

Also arrested in the sweeps were political leader Mostafa Lmouatassime; Abdelhafid Sriti, a correspondent for the Hezbollah militant group's Al-Manar television; and a university professor and a police superintendent, the MAP agency reported.

Morocco, a strong U.S. ally, has been on alert since 2003 suicide bombings in Casablanca killed 45 people and stunned this relatively moderate Muslim country, a popular vacation spot. Those bombings targeted a Jewish community center and cemetery, a hotel, a restaurant and a Spanish social club.

Authorities have carried out regular anti-terror sweeps since then, raising concerns among human rights groups that say many innocent people have been arrested and tortured.

In March, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Casablanca Internet cafe, and investigators later uncovered an alleged plot targeting tourist sites across Morocco. Police cornered four suspects, shooting one dead and prompting the other three to blow themselves up to avoid capture. The blasts killed a policeman and wounded 21 other people.

Two brothers strapped with explosives blew themselves up near the U.S. consulate in April.

Source: CNN.

Search continues for Irishman missing in Brussels


Monday, March 03, 2008

The family of an Irishman missing in Belgium are continuing to appeal for help in tracing his whereabouts.

Conor Synnott, who is originally from Dun Laoghaire in Co Dublin, was last seen in Brussels 10 days ago.

The Belgian police have launched a formal missing persons appeal and Interpol has been informed of the case.

Posters of the 33-year-old have also been put up in parts of the Netherlands, as Mr Synnott had expressed an interest in visiting the country.

[...]

Conor Synnott (33) has been missing from his home since the early hours of Saturday February 23rd. His last known action was to withdraw money from an ATM at Rue Haute in the jeux de balles area of Brussels at 4.45am.

He is described as being 1.65m (5ft 6in) tall, of medium build, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Any information should be passed onto the Belgian Police on free-phone +32(0)80091119.

Source: The Irish Times and Belfast Telegraph

Telekom Austria prefers Belarus to Brussels


Telekom Austria (TA) chief Boris Nemsic has said that he prefers Belarus to Brussels as a business partner.

He said: "We have been treated much better in Belarus than in Brussels. That is not a political but a business comment."

He was evidently referring to EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding's recent instruction to the mobile-phone branch to lower the cost of SMS messages and broadband internet access by June 1, 2008.

Nemsic added that the EU Commission's desire to regulate prices charged end-users reminded him of Communism.

He said: "I have lived under Communism and hate regulated prices." He was born in the former Yugoslavia.

In response, Reding's spokesman Martin Selmayr claimed that TA's revenue from its mobile-phone business had increased by 10 per cent in 2007 and added that "we don't know what he is complaining about. We hope that he not only visits (Belarus President Alexander) Lukaschenko but also comes to Brussels from time to time to speak with Mrs. Reding."

TA acquired a 70-per-cent interest in Belarus mobile-phone operator MDC for 730 million Euros in 2007.

TA's shares plunged by 14 per cent last week after presentation of preliminary results for 2007 and its outlook for 2008.

Source: Wiener Zeitung.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Dark, and very bitter


By Matthew Engel

It is now possible – a mere 205 years after the original proposal for a Channel Tunnel – to travel overland from London to a foreign capital, i.e. Brussels, in less than two hours. But Belgium no longer feels like just another country, it feels increasingly like another planet.

This isn’t routine journalistic hyperbole. The inhabited areas of Planet Earth are organised into nation-states – big, small; rich, poor; free, tyrannical – but nation-states all the same. Belgium is the first of them to begin mutating into something different. Generations of idealists, reformers and peace campaigners might feel delighted and vindicated.

At least until they start looking more closely.

In the second half of 2007, when the Belgians were unable to agree on a government, there was speculation that the country would follow Czechoslovakia and split in two – into Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. More knowledgeable observers said it wouldn’t happen because Francophone Brussels would be marooned inside Flanders, and it was impossible to resolve that contradiction.

Since then, the political crisis has eased slightly. Just before Christmas, the caretaker government was replaced by an interim version, which is supposedly more capable of decision-making. A fully functioning government is due to emerge by March 23. Maybe.

In the meantime nothing much can be done.

[...]

It is even harder to fathom that the apparent winner of the 2007 election, Yves Leterme, is still serving as the deputy of the man he beat, Guy Verhofstadt, and seems relaxed about it, too.

And the country appears to function well enough: to start with, the trains run on time, which puts Belgium way ahead of Britain.

But this is because Belgium has reached the point where the national government has ceased to matter. Over the years, the power has either been devolved downwards, to the regions and the communes, or passed upwards, to the European Union.

Belgium doesn’t feel the need to invade anyone else (“We seek a modest profile,” as one minister put it). And the crucial development has been the introduction of the euro. If Belgium still had its own currency, political instability might have been disastrous. Now that it doesn’t, the state can wither away. Shock revelation: Marx was right after all.

The country’s raison d’etre was always a bit flimsy. It was founded in 1831 because the people shared Catholicism and a dislike of being ruled from Holland. The European powers-that-were let it happen because they didn’t want any of their rivals ruling such a vital piece of geography.

Over the years, as religion faded, the disparate parts of the country began to share little more than their currency, their king and their football team. Now the currency has gone, the king is more marginal, and the football team is useless.

But underneath the place is seething. The two sides hate each other but carry on like a long-married couple, filled with mutual loathing, but too inert to sell the house and divide the CD collection.

And the chasm keeps growing wider. Wallonia, once rich, dominant and heavily industrialised, now has some of the most run-down cities in western Europe. The old coal and steel city of Charleroi could – with a few minor adjustments – serve as a film set for a gritty drama on late communism.

Flanders, meanwhile, has the same quiet, small, business-led prosperity as Holland. The contrast between Charleroi and, say, Antwerp is staggering, both economically and linguistically. An Anglophone has no trouble in Antwerp, once a French-speaking city. But I’ve seen a look of hate come into an old lady’s eye when asked for directions in French.

It’s risky even to whisper “raison d’etre”.

Belgian amity never recovered from the first world war when (in one version) French-speaking officers refused to speak the Flemish peasants’ language and sent them, uncomprehending, to their doom, and (in the other version) the Flemings were inclined to collaboration with the Boche.

As the years pass, the hate gets stronger, and the Flemings – in particular – more uncompromising.

I arrived to a chilling headline in one French-language newspaper: “Francophones, vous n’avez pas compris”. I thought this was a quote from a right-wing extremist. It came from Karel de Gucht, the foreign minister, the man in charge of the “modest profile”.

Outsiders don’t understand either. They think Belgium is boring but amiable. Yet it is only habit and temperament that stops it turning into Europe’s Middle East.

Published: February 23 2008
Source: Financial Times.