Voices from Molenbeek - Evidence from a neighbourhood affected by violent extremism

06/09/2016 06/09/2016 10:00 - 11:30| Committee of the Regions room VMA 1
The terrorist attacks on Paris in November 2015 and Brussels in March 2016 have drawn worldwide attention to the Brussels commune of Molenbeek, home to a number of the people involved in the bloodshed.
What do the people of Molenbeek think of violent extremism? What opinions do they hold? And what attitudes do they share?
On 6 September, the European Institute of Peace presented its principal findings from a two-month randomised, qualitative study based on interviews with other 400 people in Molenbeek (also known as Molenbeek-Saint-Jean).
The findings were presented by Martin Griffiths, director of the European Institute of Peace (EIP), and Amr Ahmed Abdo, a member of the EIP's eight-strong team of interviewers.
Other speakers at the event were the Mayor of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, Françoise Schepmans, and Bart Somers, Mayor of Mechelen.
The event, which was organised by the European Institute of Peace, was hosted by the Committee of the Regions, represented by Mayor Somers, whose opinion on "Combating Radicalisation and Violent Extremism: Prevention mechanisms at local and regional level" was adopted by the Committee of the Regions in June 2016.
The principal findings of the 'social mapping' exercise by the European Institute of Peace were:
  • a lack of opportunities was perceived as the main driver of violent radicalisation;
  • responses to radicalisation were identified by interviewees as credible dialogues and religious education;
  • terrorism and extremism were not the most important concerns of the Molenbeekois
  • the Molenbeekois do not support the extremist cause;
  • Molenbeekois of Belgian heritage experience discrimination inside Molenbeek, while those of North African heritage perceive to be discriminated outside Molenbeek;
  • the community of North African heritage does not have many contacts with other population groups in Molenbeek;
  • there is a lack of credible community leaders and role models;
  • the Molenbeekois want a police force that is closer to the community;
  • the community of North African heritage in Molenbeek has strong conservative norms; and
  • some tensions exist between Belgian norms and the everyday practice of Islam

Contact Person: Andreas Mullerleile, communications officer
Organizer: European Institute of Peace
Phone - Mobile: +32 2 4307 362 - +32 487 224 010
Email: andreas.mullerleile@eip.org
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