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Molenbeek: Breeding Ground for Extremism in Brussels | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Residents of the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek take part in a memorial gathering to honour the victims of the recent deadly Paris attacks, in Brussels, Belgium, November 18, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman – RTS7SPT

Brussels- A number of young men from the Molenbeek neighborhood in the Belgian capital was involved in terrorist attacks in Europe and helped bombers in their missions. Thus, this neighborhood became notorious as an incubator of terrorism and extremism in Europe.
Salah Abdul Salam and Mohammad Abdul Hamid Abau’d were among the terrorists linked to this neighborhood, and that urged the Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon, from the extreme right-wing, to focus all his efforts on it.

In fact, the minister launched the “Canal Plan” during last summer and asserted in local and international media that his plan will mainly focus on cutting resources to terrorists who make money from drug dealing, arms trade, and documents falsification. Jambon also pledged to back municipal authorities so they can take the necessary procedures against illegal residents.

The right-winged minister said he was planning to increase the number of police members working in municipalities and provide them with all the needed requirements to confront and combat crimes and violations, and to inspect extremist networks and people aiming at joining terrorist groups. He also highlighted the importance of taking necessary steps in the education field and to provide equal opportunities for youth.

It is worth noting that the Belgian Government has approved the royal draft law for leading projects proposed to control violent extremism in ten municipalities including Molenbeek with a EUR1 million budget.

Mayor of Molenbeek told Asharq Al-Awsat that this neighborhood comprises people from different cultures and that after years of peaceful cohabitation, no one imagined that this level of tension and fear from fundamentalist intellects would be reached.

He added that people in Molenbeek, of which the majority are Moroccans, Turks, and Africans, live amid critical conditions.