After the attacks at Charlie Hebdo and a Parisian kosher supermarket two weeks ago and the large police operation in Belgium on Thursday, it appears that politicians have finally realized the gravity of the threat that has grown within Europe in recent years. In the end, a decision was made in Belgium to take appropriate action, but the question remains: it is too late now? Are we battling symptoms rather than the root problem?
Belgian newspapers carried a clear message: “We are at war.” Every editorial praised the lightning-fast operation by the Belgian special forces that raided 10 different targets in a single night and thwarted a planned attack that would have targeted police forces. There is a direct threat on our comfortable way of life, and it is no longer just to Jews, who have warned governments for years. The special forces’ preventative action, which ended with two terrorists killed and one wounded in a shoot-out, woke Belgium up from its daydream.
I thought to myself: “Good morning all, welcome to my club.” The Belgian government led by the young Charles Michel from the center-right acted quickly and decided to take 12 measures, including evaluating anti-terror laws; looking into cancelling citizenship for suspects who aided terrorists; improving intelligence sharing between various government agencies; and using the military to safeguard certain sites such as schools and synagogues.
Even if these steps help, however, might they be too late? The problem has become deeply rooted in certain difficult areas. One example is the city Verviers, where one district with a Muslim majority has a 25 percent unemployment rate. Have we not already crossed the line in Belgium, where Saudi Arabia has been sending religious teachers for the past 40 years, not to teach moderate Islam, but the extremist Wahabi version — all with state funding?
It is no coincidence that the largest amount of foreign nationals joining the Islamic State in proportion to that country’s population comes from Belgium. Some are trying to convince us that these jihadists represent a small minority that is fighting for reasons unrelated to Islam. That is possible, but we don’t see the thousands of Muslims known as the “Gaza Generation” who participated in anti-Israel and pro-Hamas protests during Operation Protective Edge take part in the Charlie Hebdo solidarity rally that brought 20,000 to the streets.
Do I see a future for Belgium’s Jews? The facts speak for themselves: In May, the Jewish Museum in Brussels was attacked and four were killed. Last Friday, the Jewish community in Belgium was put under curfew. All the schools were closed. That has never happened before. This week, my daughter will return from school under military guard. Is this the life I want for my children and myself? Obviously not! I may not be the main target of the Islamist fascists who want to install Sharia in the streets of Europe, but we have stood at the forefront of this fight for too long. Enough is enough!