European politicians denounce ban on Brussels 'Islam safari'

Belgian, Dutch politicians slam ban on their planned 'Islam safari' through a Brussels neighborhood as sign of Islam's sway over Europe.


Resolute.  MP Geert Wilders
Resolute.  MP Geert Wilders

Two Belgian and Dutch politicians slammed a ban against their planned "Islam safari" through a Brussels immigrant neighborhood on Friday as a sign of Islam's sway over Europe.

Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders and Filip De Winter, a leader of Belgium's Vlaams Belang party, had intended to tour Molenbeek, a Muslim immigrant neighborhood which is considered a no-go zone, but authorities banned the visit as a threat to public order.

"We want to make a point to show the public, to show the press, to everybody in our respective countries that this is our soil," Wilders told reporters. "By making that impossible the government or the mayor at least proved that it is not a part of Belgium but it is part of an Islamic enclave and this is totally unacceptable," Wilders said.

Molenbeek has been considered a hotbed of Islamic extremism since the terrorists responsible for the November 2015 Paris attacks and the March 2016 Brussels bombings hailed from there.

Authorities on Thursday banned the "Islam safari," with Molenbeek mayor Francoise Schepmans warning of "a serious threat to public order" flowing from their planned protest's "ostensibly insulting and discriminatory nature."

In the end, Dewinter and Wilders spoke to reporters in the federal parliament in Brussels, alleging they were victims of "fatwas" from elected officials who submitted to "Islam's domination."

Dewinter said, "I think this makes very clear that those neighborhoods in Europe are 'no-go zones.'"

In 2001, it was in Molenbeek that the assassins of Afghanistan's anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud had stayed.

It was also home to one of the 2004 Madrid train bombers and the main suspect in the 2014 Jewish Museum attack in Brussels, while the perpetrator of a foiled attack on an Amsterdam-Paris train in 2015 stayed in Molenbeek with his sister before boarding in Brussels.