'I realize that there is almost always a link with Molenbeek, that's a huge problem,' said Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in November 2015 after seven people were arrested in connection with the attacks in Paris of that month. Later, several perpetrators of the attacks in Brussels in March 2016 appeared to have ties with Molenbeek. Thus, terrorist suspect Salah Abdeslam held shelter for months before being arrested.
Also, the man who entered the Thalys in Brussels in August 2015 with a Kalashnikov, stayed in Molenbeek, as well as the suspected victim of the Jewish Museum in Brussels in 2014. Last June, a 36-year-old man from Molenbeek attempted to attack the station Brussels-Central. The attack failed and the man was shot by soldiers.
The municipality of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek in the west of the Brussels-Capital Region has more than 96,000 inhabitants. Molenbeek grew in the 19th century from agricultural village to industrial border municipality and is now a migrant district. A large part of the inhabitants are of Moroccan origin. The unemployment rate is high and the average income is 17,000 euros a year relatively low.
Mayor Françoise Schepmans said in 2015 'to be extremely shocked' about the attacks themselves and the link between terrorism and her municipality. According to her, projects to counter the radicalization of young people in her municipality have started too late, with too little money.
The Belgian government has developed the so-called Channel Plan in the fight against radicalization and terrorism. According to Minister of Home Affairs Jan Jambon, that brings down that.
Flemish importance headline Filip Dewinter wants to show PVV leader Geert Wilders on Friday that the street scene in the 'jihad capital of Europe' is dominated by Muslims. Schepmans has forbidden the visit for fear of serious disruption of public order.