The safety of Syrian refugees in Belgium is being threatened by radicalized local youths, the mayor of the Belgian municipality of Vilvoorde, on the outskirts of Brussels, said.
“Without additional funding, I cannot guarantee the safety of the refugees,” Hans Bonte said in an interview with the Flemish De Morgen publication published Wednesday.
Bonte says that a commonly held view among radicalized young people, is that Syrian asylum seekers, who make up the majority of refugees in the municipality, are “cowards” for not fighting alongside the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group and helping it to establish an Islamic caliphate.
“The situation is once again very explosive, similar to Charlie Hebdo or Verviers,” the mayor said, referring to the deadly January terrorist attacks at the satirical magazine’s headquarters in Paris and subsequent anti-terror raids in the Walloon region.
Bonte said the latest thwarted attack on board an Amsterdam-Paris train has stirred up tensions in Vilvoorde, leaving the city polarized.
Bonte calls the plan “absurd,” arguing for the protection of existing asylum seekers before providing new relief.
Although the Flemish government has reportedly pledged to provide $2.6 million in support to Vilvoorde, Bonte claims the local authorities “have not seen a euro.”