“When you have no life objectives, no long-term objectives, you try to find your quest for self elsewhere,” explains Tewfik Sahih, a lifelong resident of Schaerbeek, Brussels, the neighborhood in which the bombs used in the Paris and Brussels attacks were made. “Many people feel discriminated [against] here. Some citizens here don’t feel part of the national community.”
Experts tell CBSN that many of Belgium’s disenfranchised Muslims feel more loyalty to their nuclear communities than their country. So, even if they don’t necessarily agree with how certain members of their neighborhood or mosque choose to lash out, they might not be inclined to report those people to the authorities either.
“The mafia protects itself. Hooligans with soccer clubs don’t betray themselves as well. It’s very much a group mentality where you don’t betray,” explains Michael Privot, director of the European Network Against Racism. “The Muslim community feels really under siege. They are victims themselves of hate crimes. So, if you want to really help them make the change from within … you have to give them breathing space … open space for them to build a future.”