" ..."Instead of bombing Raqqah, France should be bombing Molenbeek." — Eric Zemmour, French journalist.
No one, at least outside Belgium, is talking about Molenbeek's long-time anti-Semitic mayor and the alliance with radical Islamists that secured his power.
The majority of the terrorists who have appeared in Europe in recent times originated from a single neighborhood, six square-kilometers in size -- an astounding concentration.
"[T]here are more veiled women here in Molenbeek than in Casablanca." — Resident interviewed by investigative reporter Gilles Gaetner.
The many shops run by Jews suddenly disappeared in 2008 after harassment and threats by local "youths." How did Mayor Moureaux react? By accusing Belgian Jews of wanting to deny Muslims the "right to diversity."
It is supposed to be Israel's fault when the Arabs of Belgium -- and especially those of Molenbeek -- have a bad reputation? This type of anti-Semitic resentment is unfortunately not only typical for Moureaux, but for his entire party.
The Molenbeek district of Brussels is considered Europe's "terrorist factory." At least three of the perpetrators of the November terrorist attacks in Paris came from there: Ibrahim Abdeslam, Abdelhamid Abaaoud and the remaining fugitive Salah Abdeslam. The list does not stop there. The Viennese daily newspaper "Die Presse" writes:
"Molenbeek already made headlines for the first time in 2001: Abdessatar Dahmane, the murderer of the Afghan war hero and horror of the Taliban, Ahmed Schah Massoud, was also a regular at the Islamic center at 18 Rue du Manchester, known for its radical views; as well as Hassan El Haski, who was presumed behind the attacks in Casablanca (41 dead in 2003) and Madrid (200 victims in 2004). The weapons that were used in the attacks on the French satirical paper "Charlie Hebdo" in January 2015 came from Molenbeek. The French jihadist Mehdi Nemouche, who caused a bloodbath in the Brussels Jewish Museum the previous year, lived here. In August 2015, Ayoub El Khazzani started out from here on his attempt to attack a train from Amsterdam to Paris."
The two jihadists killed by Belgian police in January, in Verviers, came from Molenbeek. The terrorist Amedy Coulibaly, who attacked the HyperCacher kosher supermarket in Paris, also spent time in Molenbeek.
The majority of the terrorists who have appeared in Europe in recent times originated from a single neighborhood, six square-kilometers in size -- an astounding concentration. Belgium is, in relation to the size of its population, the greatest European exporter of fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Most of them -- at least 48 -- come from Molenbeek. "Instead of bombing Raqqah," says the French journalist Eric Zemmour, "France should be bombing Molenbeek."
More than half the population of Molenbeek is Muslim; a quarter come from Morocco -- such as the Paris attackers. "You know, there are more veiled women here in Molenbeek than in Casablanca," says a resident interviewed by investigative reporter Gilles Gaetner of the French news portal "Atlantico." Gaetner does consider that "surely an exaggeration," but admits: "When one walks the streets of this Brussels district, with its nearly 96,000 residents, one is overcome by a bizarre impression. Not only would you think you were no longer in the Kingdom of Belgium, but an oppressive atmosphere reigns here."
Foreign reporters are only now discovering Molenbeek. Those who have to live there have been complaining about the conditions there for a long time. The following excerpt is from a report by the Belgian weekly magazine Le Vif L'Express from 2011:
Buildings in danger of collapsing, street corners that are becoming landfills, a parked car rusts away in a parking lot: Urban renewal would be helpful here. "This is a gangster district. Here you get beat up for five Euros," says Karim. The shopkeeper is not happy. He talks about how he recently chased a teenager with a knife in his hand, who had stolen cigarettes. This scene took place just steps away from the Ribaucourt subway station. "The Rue Piers is not safe at this hour," says a young woman, who after 6pm either makes sure she is accompanied home, or else takes a taxi. She has been living with friends in an apartment in the district for three years. The apartment is large, and not too expensive. "But I am always vigilant," she says. Especially when she is wearing a skirt. "Insults, spitting, groping: I have experienced that." Other residents are moving out. "My house was burglarized twice within one year," says a witness. "When I go to the supermarket around the corner, I double-lock the door and turn on the alarm."
Testimonials to a city in fear. Much of the responsibility for this apparently rests with Philippe Moureaux, member of the Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste), who was mayor of Molenbeek from 1992 until 2012. Confronted with the complaints of his citizens, he regularly denied the unsustainable conditions in his town: "It makes me angry when people pick out tiny details and lie about them," he said in the quoted report. Molenbeek is "not the Bronx;" the problems with criminality only concern a small number of streets, said Moureaux.
Then Moureaux showed his true colors: "Molenbeek is a symbol that certain people want to destroy. But only over my dead body." Certain people? Does the mayor actually believe in a conspiracy against his district of misery? One does not have to search for long to realize that Moureaux, on whose initiative Belgium passed an "anti-racism law" in 1981, is an anti-Semite -- not exactly common even in Belgium. At the same time, he downplays and supports the violence of young Muslims -- also against Jews.
And now for the trip down Memory Lane: DowneastBlog on - amongst others - Philippe Moureaux, August 10, 2007:
"... This list would not be complete without Philippe Moureaux, the mayor of Molenbeek, one of the 19 communes of Greater Brussels. Moureaux is one of the top Parti Socialiste officials in the whole of Brussels, and Molenbeek is his personal fiefdom. It was he who, in 2005, forbade his police officers to drink coffee and eat sandwiches in the streets during Ramadan. He also ordered them to limit their patrols significantly. Today, Molenbeek is a hotbed of Islamic extremism. Apart from his career in local politics, Moureaux has also been, in times past, a pivotal figure in Belgium's federal political arena, where he was deeply involved in drafting the law allowing non-Belgians to vote in municipal elections, as well legislation against racism and xenophobia. Over the years, this legislation was time and again amended until it was tailor-made, so to say, to "kill" the Vlaams Blok - or so Moureaux & Co thought. That was in 2004, and the VB only escaped being completely outlawed by changing its name. Philippe Moureaux' hatred of the VB is not only because of the "racism" he and his ilk perceive in this party or in each and everyone who dares to object to obvious problems caused by muslim immigrants. No, this man hates Flemings because he is a racist himself, and a fierce anti-Fleming racist at that. I have known him for over twenty-five years now, and during all this time I have never heard this cretin utter a single word in Flemish. I bet however, that by now he does speak quite a mouthful of arabic. After all, he married a muslim wife...."