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Syria Jihadists Trouble Belgium Muslims

Published: 08/05/2013 08:18:27 PM GMT
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BRUSSELS - Fearing radicalization after their return, Muslim groups in Belgium urged Wednesday, May 8, young Muslims not to go to Syria to fight against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.“Their return from the conflict is t (more)

BRUSSELS - Fearing radicalization after their return, Muslim groups in Belgium urged Wednesday, May 8, young Muslims not to go to Syria to fight against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

“Their return from the conflict is to be much more feared than their departure,” a number of Muslim groups said in a statement cited by Al-Arabiya website.

They argued that young Belgian Muslims travelling to Syria risk to be radicalized by groups fighting against Assad's regime.

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“It is to be feared that these young men take on the agendas of the extremist groups they will fight with, which will complicate their relations with fellow European citizens” when they return home.

The statement was prepared for discussion in mosques in the European country.

It says that there was no justification in the Qur'an for going into the armed conflict in Syria.

It was “difficult to find a moral justification for any armed conflict” and to take part, under whatever impulse, “leads to the certain loss of the human spirit.”

Concerns have grown among the Muslim community in Belgium over the departure of several young people to Syria to join the fighting against Assad's regime.

Last month, Belgian police detained six men on charges of recruiting young people to fight in Syria.

The crackdown followed reports that about 12 Belgian Muslims were killed in Syria.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in more than two years of fighting between Assad's security forces and opposition forces.

The fighting has forced more than one million Syrians to flee their home to neighboring countries in addition to the displacement of two millions others inside the country.

Thousands of foreign fighters are believed to have joined the fighting in Syria against Assad's regime.


Khalid Hajii, head of the Belgian Council of Ulema, blamed what he called “frustration” for the rising number of Belgians going to Syria.

He, however, said it would be a mistake to see that as the only cause driving them to take up arms in Syria's bloody conflict, with “indoctrination' a major factor too.

His argument was echoed earlier last month by the Muslim Executive of Belgium (EMB), which blamed frustration among Belgian Muslims over the non-recognition of their basic human rights for pushing many to join the Syrian conflict.

"The implicit encouragement of international policy regarding the conflict in Syria is also directly related to these reprehensible departures," it had said.

A recent report by King's College London said up to 600 people from 14 European countries, including Austria, Britain, Germany, Spain and Sweden had taken part in the Syria conflict.

Belgian Muslims are estimated at 450,000 - out of a 10-million-population - about half of them are from Moroccan origin, while 120,000 are from Turkish origin.

More than 20 percent of the population of Brussels is of Muslim origin coming from Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other African countries.There are 77 mosques or prayer rooms in Brussels and over 300 across Belgium.

Reproduced with permission from