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Last Saturday five Moroccan youths cut the throat of a 16-year old black boy in the Brussels borough of Molenbeek. The victim, who was born in Niger, bled to death. The Molenbeek blacks say it was a racist murder. They complain about the hatred of the Moroccans for the black Africans. They also complain about the indifference of the Belgian authorities.
Three days after the murder the large pool of clotted blood was still visible on the spot in the Heyvaert Straat where the boy had been killed. The authorities did not bother to clean it up. Yesterday Abdelhai and Sedeat, two brothers of the assassinated boy, showed the large black spot with its foamy white edges to a journalist of Het Nieuwsblad. The blood has been here for more than two days, Abdelhai said. Everyone could walk right through it.
Molenbeek, a western borough of Brussels, is Brussels’ most dangerous no-go area. It is the fiefdom of Philippe Moureaux, the leader and kingmaker of the Parti Socialiste (PS), the largest party in Brussels. Moureaux, the mayor of Molenbeek, has sold his borough out to street gangs, prohibiting the police from going in to maintain law and order. The Socialist strongman hopes that the Muslim vote will help the PS achieve an election victory in next Autumn’s local elections. A growing number of moderate Muslims, however, is turning against the mayor. After Saturday’s murder some have gone so far as to openly announce their sympathy for the right-wing Vlaams Belang (VB), a party which the PS regards as racist.
In today’s De Morgen, a left-liberal Brussels newspaper, immigrant inhabitants of Molenbeek complained about Arab racism towards blacks, about the decay of the neighbourhood and, above all, about the absence of the police. Kamal, a Belgian of Moroccan origin who runs a local café, said: I put a petition to Moureaux once. We have nothing but problems here: fighting all night. In spite of thousands of signatures the mayor did not even react. The police officers are improbably slack. When I phone them they do not even bother to come.
The immigrants live in a neighbourhood where the pavements have been broken up so the boulders and paving stones can be used for throwing, where the windows of the houses have been smashed, where car wrecks are parked along the curb and the streets are littered with stinking garbage. De Morgen described ‘Moureaux-ville’ today as a part of Africa in Brussels. The mayor is losing his sway over his underpriviliged subjects. Souleymane, a black immigrant from Guinea, told the paper that he agrees with the Vlaams Belang that law and order must be restored. This neighbourhood is rotten, he says.
The boy from Niger was murdered when Moroccan youths tried to sell him a cell phone they had stolen. They demanded 30 euros, the boy wanted to pay only 10 euros. The Moroccans took this as an insult and slit his throat. An 11-year old Arab boy told De Morgen that the black boy had only himself to blame: He should not have behaved so arrogantly. The Molenbeek blacks have vowed that they will kill a Moroccan boy in retaliation. An eye for an eye is the only law that applies here.
Kamal, the Belgian of Moroccan origin, supports the VB too. I opened my café in 1998. In the early days I had both Moroccan and African customers. But the hatred between the two groups was too great. The racism of the Moroccans was excessive. I had to deny them entry. Kamal agrees with the VB that illegal immigrants must be repatriated. The country is full, he says firmly.
While Kamal demands that illegal immigrants be repatriated, the Catholic bishop of Antwerp, Paul Van den Berghe, today sent a letter to all 127 Catholic primary and high schools in his diocese, allowing them to let their pupils (between 6 and 18 years of age) participate in a protest demonstration which will be held on 15 February in favour of illegal immigrants. The authorities recently arrested a number of illegal immigrants and intends to send them back to the countries they came from. Leftist activists want to prevent this. They have the support of Monsignor Van den Berghe. The latter is an elderly fool who likes protest demonstrations. In the late 1980s the Antwerp Catholics could see their bishop march in support of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas.
The bishop’s letter was sent on the very day that the results were published of a survey which showed that in Flanders, Belgium’s Dutch-speaking and traditionally Catholic northern half, only 3,7 percent of the population still goes to church on Sundays. This is one of the lowest rates in Europe. Belgium has ceased to be a religious country in spite of the fact that over 70 percent of all children attend (government subsidized) Catholic schools that are run by the bishops.
(Posted on January 26, 2006)