Belgium’s State Security Service warns against Salafism

“The number of Salafist groups and movements in [Belgium] rises slowly but surely, and Salafism’s influence grows,” warns the State Security Service pamphlet that aims to inform Belgians about Salafism’s influence.

Five-thousand copies of the text will be distributed among government institutions, including universities, prisons, and police departments. This rare government initiative aims to depict a “nuanced image” of the current threat.

The pamphlet maintains that “[Salafism] leads to societal issues because it serves as an Islamic doctrine that is hostile to certain Western and democratic values.”

The text also intends to highlight the Muslim community’s role in countering the Salafist threat. Such a document is rare; except for brochures on the State Security Service’s functions, economic espionage and proliferation, this is only the fourth document to be distributed in 183 years.

Johan Leman of ASBL Foyer in Molenbeek previously compared Salafists to the Amish. But for the State Security Service, this comparison is inadequate. “Salafists effectively live separate lives, they live in a parallel world like the Amish, but they are intolerant and opposed to democracy,” the text explains. “It can go further. For instance, a preacher in Belgium called for people to run red lights, because ‘in the time of the Prophet, they didn’t exist.'”

In 2010 Alain Winants, former Administrator General, warned against rising Salafism. “Their visibility will only grow. We see tensions in society, at work, in hospitals and in teaching establishments. Since [his time], the threat against which Winants warned has become very real,” the text concludes.


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