This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Base for Islamic Barbarity

"A few years ago it was the pensioners going, who wanted the Israeli sun. Now it is young people with children. They are scared."
"I never thought I would have to hide a Jewish newspaper on the metro. When my grandson comes out of the school, he knows to put his kippah in his pocket. He asks me, why do they hate us? I say, oh, it’s a long story."
"It is a painful thing. I am a real Belgian – my country, my culture and my friends are here."
"My daughter never, never, never thought to leave. Now, she says of her little boy, what is his future here? We don’t feel safe."
"They [Belgian authorities] are afraid of this [Muslim] community. The Belgians are a very nice people. That’s the problem."
Betty Dan, Jewish community organizer, Brussels
A Jewish boy stands with flowers in front of an Israeli flag and flowers laid in front of the Jewish Museum in Brussels      A Jewish boy stands with flowers in front of an Israeli flag and flowers laid in front of the Jewish Museum in Brussels, where four people were murdered by a gunman in 2014  Photo: AFP/GETTY

"Jews are praying at home. Some of them are planning to leave. People realise there is no future for Jews in Europe."
Rabbi Avraham Guigui, Brussels' Grand Synagogue

"I grew up in Argentina and experienced some anti-Semitism, but compared to what my children go through in Europe in 2015, it is incomparable."
"If I count my own experience, the insults and violent actions seem to come from people who curse me with Allahu Akhbar, or some Arabic insult."

"We see people are targeted for being Jewish in the streets all the time. It is a war of ideas." 
"I do hear around me this idea coming over and over: that we should not think of Brussels or Europe as a long-term strategy for our children."
Rabbi Avi Tawil, director, European Jewish Community Centre
As increasing migrations of Arabs and Muslims moved into Europe, a concomitant increase in anti-Semitism arose, so what is occurring now is not of recent vintage, but what has changed is that the anti-Semitism has become more overtly raging, and accompanied on occasion by vicious and sometimes lethal attacks on Jews in Europe. And Belgium has experienced  more than its due share, reflective of the number of Muslims known to be Islamist jihadists.

Rabbi Tawil tells of his experience of a decade earlier when someone approached him to enquire his baby's age as the rabbi was pushing the little boy in his stroller. The Rabbi's response elicited a surprising rejoinder: "Allah willing, he will be dead soon". This first encounter led to more of the same, only they have become more threatening as time goes by. He now has four children and his concern is for their safety.

The Grand Synagogue in Brussels closed its doors for the first time since the Second World War, leaving people to pray in their own homes at Shabbat [the Jewish Sabbath], when earlier in the month Belgian troops in armoured cars patrolled the streets, reflecting anticipation of an "imminent" terrorist attack.

Belgian Jews have reason to be concerned since they have been specifically targeted in the past. An Jew-hating Islamist returned from jihad in the Middle East attacked an orthodox school in Toulouse, France, shooting to death a rabbi and three Jewish children, in 2012. A Frenchman of Algerian descent rampaged at a Jewish museum in Brussels in May of 2014, killing four people.

November of 2014 saw a rabbi in Antwerp stabbed and in January of 2015 yet another Islamist murdered four shoppers at a Paris kosher store, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The government of Belgium has statistics showing that 130 anti-Semitic incidents occurred last year, a fifty percent increase over the year before.

Paris kosher supermarket hostages freedPolice storm the Kosher supermarket where terrorists killed four  Photo: Vantagenews.com

There is a lot of explaining to do, although root causes and effects are well enough known. Belgium’s security services and its faint-hearted politicians are the subject both internally and internationally of intense scrutiny over how the city, and most especially the tiny commune of Molenbeek became an incubator of a series of terrorist plots. The puzzle to outsiders is how the government could turn a blind eye to extremism.

Accusations also come from within as well, when last week Karl Vanlouwe, a leading Flemish politician, pointed the finger of blame at socialist MPs for indulging radical networks with "extreme tolerance", in the process turning Brussels into a "base for Islamic barbarism."

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