Brussels Police loses grip on radical Islamists and has no clue about deradicalisation

By David Frankenhuis
Belgian soldiers search passengers before they board the Brussels Metro after terror attacks on March 23, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium / Getty

Paperwork on files concerning Muslim terrorists and radicalised Islamic citizens is keeping specialised police officers Brussels increasingly occupied. According to experts, they, therefore, now have less time to keep a vigilant eye on the bands of religious extremists that thrive in the midst of the Belgian capital.

This fact was presented yesterday to the parliament of Belgium by Islam specialist Frédéric Somville, HLN reports. Somville, who works for the Federal Police, shared his findings with a committee made up of Members of Parliament who are investigating the Jihadist terror attacks that rocked Brussels in March 2016 , killing 32 civilians. Furthermore, according to Somville, chances of deradicalisation are slim.

“It is not a police task to have philosophical discussions with youngsters,” the policeman emphasised. Nevertheless, especially in the wake of the attacks, many specialised officers from Brussels’ police precincts were deployed to deal with completing the judicial files on the Jihadist suspects, he says, resulting in the police paying less attention to meetings and protests where Muslim radicals gather.

“Legal matters come first, prevention comes second. We simply lack the resources to do everything and early detection is more difficult. Judicial stuff is easy since you’re following clear procedures.”

On the process deradicalisation, he comments:

“Show me a person from Northern Africa who is mentally disturbed, and in three weeks time I’ll turn him into a Jihadist. But on how to bring him back, I don’t really have a clue. If I had that solution I’d probably be rich by now.”

Monique Renaerts, another Islam expert working as a government official involved in deradicalisation programs, shares Somville’s pessimism on the chances of rewiring the confused minds of extremist Muslims.

She also stated that “there is not much opposition” against extremism within Islam itself. “What imam (Islamic preacher) would dare offer an interpretation that is not rooted in theological books?”, Renaerts wondered. “There are very few of them. And those few enjoy little legitimacy,” she added.

Focussing on the small minority that has already been radicalised is a waste of time, says Somville:

 “We should aim our efforts at the middle group who is not feeling well or doesn’t feel accepted in our country, to prevent them from ending up in the hands of the ultraradicals, since I don’t know what to say to the ultraradicals.”

Religious influencing should be done by the Belgian Muslim community itself, Somville stated:

“Because if we favor a certain opinion, they’ll claim that we are forcing it onto them. And that is the worst possible outcome, them saying ‘They’re trying to change who we really are’.” 

In short, Belgium is clueless.

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  • irish

    Oh my god, just imagine one of these days a jihadi madman might manage to place a bomb in the Brussels chamber where junker and the rest of the commission are sitting. What a tragedy that would be then. Does not bear thinking about ,does it?

  • Vivienne

    Oh Irish what a good idea, maybe then Europe will wake up, right now Junker is an idiot and pushing some private agenda we know nothing about.