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Brussels: European Capital or Islamic Center?
by Michael Curtis
Brussels as the headquarters of the European Union is the nominal "capital of Europe." One would expect the city to be the center of enlightenment -- the exemplification of political and social tolerance and freedom of speech, assembly, and religion, not to mention an advocate of human rights. Disappointingly, recent events have shown that Brussels has increasingly become a place of lies, deliberate disinformation, political manipulation, anti-Semitism, and attacks on Israel.
Recent developments, particularly Islamist political as well as physical aggressiveness, justify this sad conclusion. One is the election in November 2012 of two Muslim politicians of the new Islam Party, Lhoucine Ait Jeddig and Redouane Ahrouch, who won seats in two of the twenty municipalities of Brussels, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean and Anderlecht. Considering their unqualified stated objective to make Belgians understand the advantages of having Islamic people and Islamic laws, their assertion that "then[,] it will be completely natural to have Islamic laws and we will become an Islamic state" is quite chilling.
The Islam Party intends to continue running candidates in future Belgian and European-wide elections. It is likely to gain further successes because of demographic changes in the country. Calculations suggest that Muslims in Belgium now number 625,000, more than six percent of the total population. Brussels contains 300,000 Muslims -- more than a quarter of its population. It is now the largest Islamic city in Europe; by 2030 it will, according to the sociologist Felice Dassetto in her book The Iris and the Crescent, probably have a Muslim majority.
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