“Everyone knows that all mosques in Brussels are in the hands of Salafists. We need to change this, we need new mosques that follow our democratic rules and that are being controlled by the government.” Mayor Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur told DeMorgen.
Salafism is an austere branch of Islam that seeks to recreate the original purity of the religion as practiced by the first generations of Muslims. Not all Salafist are violent or politically-minded, but Sunni Islamist terrorists generally adhere to Salafist principles.
While declaring that Brussels is not the capital of jihad, the mayor of Belgium’s capital said the city has a definite problem with radical Islam.
In comments translated by Politico, Mayeur said, “Terrorism is a problem that involves Europe as a whole. Don’t forget what happened in Paris, Nice and Berlin. If this was only a Brussels problem, it would have been solved.”
He said jihadism began in Antwerp, then spread to Vivoorde (an area next to Brussels), Molenbeek (a Brussels suburb) and north Brussels.
At present, he admitted, Brussels still has a shortage of police officers to cope with security concerns.
A recent governmental report concluded at least 51 organizations in Brussels have links to terrorism.
Meanwhile in France, a study of high school students in economically depressed areas conducted by sociologists and released by National Centre for Scientific Research suggested Muslim students are more likely than native French or students who are immigrants to condone radical and violent behavior.
The report looked at 7,000 students between the ages of 14 and 16 in 21 schools and four academies in France.
The study indicated 32 percent of Muslim students adhere to religious fundamentalism versus six percent of Christians and 0.6 percent of other non-Muslims.
“The spread of radical ideas is around three times stronger among young Muslims than in the sample as a whole,” said Olivier Galland, one of the sociologists who conducted the survey. “However, two-thirds of Muslims do not adhere to these ideas,” he noted.