Two of the Islamic State terrorists who carried out the attacks in Paris were found to be from the same neighborhood in Brussels.
Belgian authorities arrested seven people from the Molenbeek district of Brussels in connection with the Paris attacks.
Molenbeek is a working class neighborhood in Brussels with a high Muslim population, which has been linked to jihadism several times over the years. The Guardian writes it is becoming known as “Europe’s Jihadi Central.”
Terrorist plots connected to Molenbeek include :
· 2001: The assassination of anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud
· 2004: The Madrid Train bombings that killed 191.
· 2014: The attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
· 2015: The attack on a kosher grocery store in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo shootings.
· 2015: The Verviers Plot, disrupted by Belgian authorities before an attack could take place.
· 2015: The Paris train attack in which the terrorist was overpowered by three Americans.
Home Affairs Minister Jan Jambon said the government does not “have control of the situation in Molenbeek.”
Previous reports have identified so called “no-go zones” in Sweden, France, Germany and the UK. In these heavily Muslim areas it is dangerous for non-Muslims to enter as they may be harassed or attacked and police are often unable to enter unless in force.
How many ‘no-go zones’ there are and to what extent the phenomenon is real has been the subject of much controversy. Steven Emerson of the investigative Project on Terrorism was scorned after he labelled the entire British city of Birmingham a ‘no-go zone’ in January.
Yet the revelations about Molenbeek show there are very serious issues of integration with Muslim communities in Europe and areas where radicalism spreads far more easily.
In trying to find the truth about the integration of Muslim communities it is important not to exaggerate as Emerson did. It is also important to be realistic about the situation in urban areas like Molenbeek.
“I notice that each time there is a link with Molenbeek,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told the press. “This is a gigantic problem. Apart from prevention, we should also focus more on repression.”
The following video, Invasion of France: The State of the Caliphate, Words and Actions was made by the Islamic State after the attacks in Paris. In the Arab-language video, the Islamic State first shows the carnage as reported by the media, then follows by its “justification”
“The equation is very simple and clear,” says the narrator. Referring to the airstrikes by France on the Islamic State in Syria, he says, “How you kill, you will be killed; how you take captives, you will be captives; how much you endanger our safety, we will endanger your safety and the events that will come will be worse.”