Official blames lack of integration… not Islam.
In a recent interview with the NY Times, a Belgian councilman has admitted that teachers who work in the predominantly Muslim districts of Molenbeek and Schaerbeek told him that 90 percent of their students, 17, 18 years old, called the ISIS attackers of Paris and Brussels “heroes.”
The councilman, Yves Goldstein, is also chief of staff for the minister-president of the Brussels Capital Region. He weighs in on the growing threat of the ISIS terror network – but he blames it on a lack of integration between muslims and non-muslims – NOT on Islam.
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“We failed to ensure the mixing of populations,” he said. “We have neighborhoods where people only see the same people, go to school with the same people. What connection do they have with the whole society, what connection do they have with real diversity? It’s the establishment of the ghetto,” he said, “and it’s the thing in our urban development that we have to tackle.”
Brussels itself is about 25 percent Muslim — 70 percent are of Moroccan heritage and 20 percent Turkish, and the ethnic groups tend to stick to themselves, making them difficult for outsiders, like the police, to penetrate.
The problem is not Islam, he insists, but the negligence of government officials like himself in allowing self-contained ethnic ghettos to grow unchallenged, breeding anger, crime and radicalism among youth — a soup of grievances that suits Islamist recruiters.
“Our cities are facing a huge problem, maybe the largest since World War II,” Mr. Goldstein said. “How is it that people who were born here in Brussels, in Paris, can call heroes the people who commit violence and terror? That is the real question we’re facing.”
Mr. Goldstein says religion isn’t the cause of the radicalization. As for the terrorists, “religion for them is a pretext,” he said. “They believe in nothing. But Islam is the way they find to express, to crystallize their radicalization.”
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