The most hospitable in the European Union
Following France - once one of the largest colonial powers that owned almost the whole of North, West and Central Africa, Belgium faced a wave of terror and violence - a small European country in size and population, formerly considered one of the most peaceful in Europe. And the reason is not only the fact that it is in Brussels that the “head” structures of the leadership of the European Union and the NATO bloc are located, but also the peculiarities of the migration and national policies of Belgium in recent decades. For a long time, Belgium was considered one of the most loyal countries to foreign migrants in Europe. A foreign citizen who came to Belgium and lived here for three years, could count on granting him Belgian citizenship. Refugees citizenship granted in two years. To become a citizen of Belgium, it did not even require the knowledge of any of the official languages of the country. Naturally, there was no talk about educational or professional qualifications. Only in 2013, the migration policy of the country began to tighten, increasing control over newly entering migrants.
It is the image of the “showcase” country of the European Union and liberal migration policy that contributed to a sharp increase in the number of foreign migrants in Belgium. For labor migrants arriving in the 1980-ies. from countries of Southern Europe, Turkey and Morocco, refugees from conflict zones in Africa (primarily in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a former Belgian colony), in the Middle East (in Iraq and Syria), in Southern Europe (Kosovo) reached out to Belgium. Currently, according to official data, migrants constitute about 10% of the population of Belgium, including 6% of the population of Belgium is represented by migrants from Muslim countries in Africa and Asia. The first place among the migrant diasporas in Belgium is occupied by Moroccans. They are about half a million people. For some reason, it was immigrants from Morocco who were traveling to Belgium, while the Algerians preferred neighboring France, although in Belgium there are also quite a few groups of immigrants from Algeria. In the second place among the migrants who settled in Belgium, traditionally there are visitors from Turkey - Turks and Kurds. In addition, Albanians, Bosnians, Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Indians and people from many other countries live here.
District of Brussels as a militant camp
The sleeping area Molenbeek in the Belgian capital of Brussels is considered the "citadel" of migrants. Here, people from African and Asian countries make up the 3 / 4 population. Despite the fact that many residents of Molenbeck are no longer migrants, but only descendants of migrants born and raised in Belgium, their social adaptation is difficult. The reluctance to integrate into Belgian society is superimposed on such social problems as unemployment, drug addiction, alcoholism, street crime. In Molenbeek, at least one third of the population is unemployed. If there is no desire to work, then the criminal path remains one of the few ways to earn quick money. Another way is to participate in terrorist organizations. According to intelligence, from Belgium to Syria and Iraq - to participate in hostilities on the side of radical groups, left 440 people. As a percentage of the population of Belgium, this is the highest figure in Europe.
It was thanks to the terrorists that Molenbek was sadly famous throughout the world. In November, 2015 in Paris, there was a series of spectacular in their consequences bloody terrorist attacks that killed 129 people. The French police managed to destroy the seven terrorists who participated in the terrorist attacks. Of these, four arrived in France from neighboring Belgium, where they lived in Brussels, in the Molenbeek quarter. Among the inhabitants of Molenbek were the brothers Ibrahim and Salah Abdeslama - citizens of France, who preferred to live in Brussels (well, the citizenship of one of the EU countries allows it). In addition, Ayyub al-Hazzani, a native of Morocco, who lived in Molenbeek, tried to arrange a mass shooting on the Amsterdam-Paris train and was detained by servicemen. Traces of Hassan al-Haski, who organized an act of terrorism in Madrid in 2004, also led to this area, where Madi Nemmush lived, who organized the murders in the Jewish Museum of Brussels.
In mid-March, a special police operation was held in Brussels to detain the alleged terrorists in Brussels. In one of the apartments in Faure commune, the police tried to check the documents of suspicious North Africans. In response, they opened fire. Algerian Mohammed Belkaid died in a shootout, and two suspects fled. One of them, however, soon managed to be delayed - it turned out to be Salah Abdeslam, who is suspected of organizing terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2016. Acquaintances characterize Abdeslam as a secular and fairly “vicious” person - a lover of cigarettes, women and drinks. And the police claim that he is also known as a drug dealer. By the way, the brother of Salah Abdeslam Ibrahim Abdeslam, who also participated in the terrorist attacks in Paris, belonged to the Les Beguines bar in Molenbeek, but then the police closed the bar - on charges of selling drugs on its territory. The third criminal, who has not been detained until now, was Najim Laashraui. It is his police who consider him one of the main suspects in the organization of explosions in the Brussels metro and 22 airport in March 2016. In the municipality of Fores, rented an apartment and Khalid Bakraoui, who, together with his brother Brahim, are considered the direct perpetrators of the terrorist attack at Brussels airport. Previously, Bakraoui’s brothers were prosecuted for committing criminal offenses, in particular, Brahim Bakraoui was detained for shooting police with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in 2010.
Social and political causes of radicalization
When journalists ask Belgian law enforcement officials about Molenbeck, police officers turn pale or blush. It is not too pleasant for them to talk about the problem area, which in recent years has turned into a real epicenter of extremism in Western Europe. Although the police claim to keep the situation under control, in fact it is not. Time has already been lost, and today it is simply impossible to “clear” Molenbeck from suspicious and potentially dangerous elements. At least - in the framework of the model of migration and legal policies that currently exist in Belgium.
First of all, the district Molenbek turned into a hotbed of extremism due to its socio-economic situation. Here, half of the population is younger than 35 years, one third are unemployed, many small shops and firms with an unclear occupation, the “shadow economy” is very developed, first of all - drug trafficking. In addition, Molenbeek is located at the junction of Wallonia and Flanders, the two “components” of Belgium. Since the powers of the regional authorities are very high in the country, the border region is immediately under dual control, both Flemish and Walloon, and the saying about seven nannies is well known to everyone. After the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, the Belgian Minister of the Interior, Jean Yambon, said that he was taking personal control of the situation in Molenbeek. What ended personal control, 22 March 2016, the whole world saw.
Another reason why it was Molenbek who became the center of migrants and radical fundamentalism in Belgium is purely political. For a long time the burgomaster was a socialist Philip Muro. He is the author of the law “Against racism and xenophobia”, which prohibited discrimination and segregation. It was Philip Muro, seeking to enlist the support of potential supporters from among the migrants, has obtained permission for foreign citizens to vote in municipal elections. So the citizens of Morocco and Turkey, Algeria and Congo, Tunisia and Senegal began to determine, along with the indigenous people of Brussels, who would lead the city. The socialist reunification program promoted by socialists has allowed many migrants to transport their numerous relatives to Belgium. We should not forget that families with Moroccans or Algerians are not a husband and a wife, and one or two children, but several dozen people. Thanks to the family reunification program, the number of migrants in Brussels has increased many times. They settled in Molenbek - the old district, where housing was cheap, and the narrow streets and old houses resembled their hometowns. Soon, many migrants were ... among the staff of migration services. In the immigration department, Mohammed Abdeslam worked - the brother of the terrorists Ibrahim and Salah Abdeslamov, who, however, preferred to publicly refute all suspicions of links with terrorist groups.
Of course, Molenbeek is far from the only area of the Belgian capital that has changed its ethno-confessional composition of the population over the past couple of decades beyond recognition. So, after the explosions at the airport and the subway, the police visited the commune of Skarbek. A large number of people from North Africa also live here. As the Belgian Attorney General Frederick van Lev told the press, as a result of a police operation, the residents of Scarbek commune found about 15 kg. explosives, chemicals and the flag of a banned organization in Russia IG.
While there are enclaves, integration of migrants is impossible.
Social adaptation of migrants in Belgium is extremely difficult. One of the most important reasons lies precisely in the "enclavization" of Belgian cities, first of all - Brussels. In areas like Molenbek, closed communities of migrants from specific countries are created, after which new arrivals and “old” migrants receive a comfortable living environment and do not need to be integrated into the receiving society. Why should they adopt the European way of life if native Moroccan, Algerian or Somali settlements are recreated in miniature?
In ethnic enclaves, there are active preachers from the countries of the Persian Gulf, primarily from Saudi Arabia, who spread radical fundamentalist views and promote the influx of migrant youth into the ranks of terrorist and extremist organizations. Most of the Afro-Asian youth living in the “migrant” areas and suburbs of Brussels are indigenous Belgians with poorly concealed or open hostility. Moreover, social and class hatred caused by the difference in the social status of Belgians and migrants is mixed with religious and ethnic hostility. Some authors speak of migrants as the “new proletariat” of Europe, although a significant proportion of migrants do not work at all and prefer to live on benefits or criminal and shadow incomes.
In turn, the behavior of migrant youth causes outrage of the local population, especially that part of it, which is not affected by the “bacilli of tolerance” and does not support the dubious course of the European Union and the Belgian government to further stimulate migration flows to Europe. Thus, the authorities themselves stimulate the growth of nationalist sentiment among the Belgians, and contribute to activating right-wing organizations calling for a tough solution to the migration problem.
Big Risks "Land of Tulips"
A migration policy based on multiculturalist principles is characteristic not only of Belgium, but also of neighboring Netherlands. The authorities of this country recently ordered the translation of the country's Constitution into Arabic, so that refugees from the Middle East could more easily adapt to the living conditions in the Netherlands. As in Belgium, in the Netherlands, immigrants from Turkey and Morocco, as well as from the former Dutch colonies - Suriname and Indonesia, prevail among foreign migrants. In Amsterdam, 26% of the city’s population are migrants, and in The Hague, about half of the population.
Naturally, the Netherlands faces the same problems as neighboring Belgium, but the Dutch authorities, like their Belgian colleagues, do not want to see the numerous risks associated with a tolerant attitude towards migration. As a result, the Netherlands is gradually turning into another epicenter of the spread of religious extremism in Europe. This is recognized by the Dutch authorities themselves. Thus, in January 2016, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Bert Kundres, reported that the number of organizations and individuals involved in terrorist activities had doubled in recent times. At the same time, no real measures are taken against the causes of the spread of extremism and terrorism in the Netherlands, as in Belgium. The “fruits” of the migration policy of the European Union, exploding in France and Belgium, are likely to be reminded of themselves in the Netherlands.