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Terrorist Attack on Brussels Jewish Museum Triggered by “Climate of Hate”

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Policemen close the access of the scene of a shooting near the Jewish Museum in Brussels, on May 24, 2014. Three people were killed and one badly injured in a shooting Saturday near the Jewish Museum in Brussels. (Photo credit: AFP/ Belga Photo/NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

Reports have just come in  about a possible terrorist attack on The Jewish Museum in Brussels by a perpetrator and accomplice, one of whom  entered the lobby and shot dead two men and a woman seriously injuring a fourth person.. The attack took place in mid afternoon, GMT, not far from the EU headquarters in Belgium’s Capital city.  The Jewish Museum, which is not operated by the country’s Jewish community, was open on Saturday and is located in the antique district popular with visitors.

The recent ADL Global 100 Index of Antisemitism indicated that an estimated 27% of Belgians evinced some form of Antisemitism. Belgium has a large emigre Muslim community. A 2008  study  estimated that  6% of Belgian’s population, 628,751 were Muslim.  A November 2012 Gatestone Institute article by Soeren Kern, “Belgium Will Become an Islamic State” drew attention to Muslim dominance in Brussels, noting:

Speaking to a reporter from Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF), the public broadcasting service of the French-speaking part of Belgium, Ahrouch said: “The agenda is still the same, but our approach is different now. I think we have to sensitize people, make them understand the advantages to having Islamic people and Islamic laws. And then it will be completely natural to have Islamic laws and we will become an Islamic state.”

The reporter interjected: “An Islamic State in Belgium?” Ahrouch replied: “In Belgium, of course! I am for the Sharia. Islamic law, I am for it. It is a long-term struggle that will take decades or a century, but the movement has been launched.”

The rise of the Islam Party comes amid a burgeoning Muslim population in the Belgian capital. Muslims now make up one-quarter of the population of Brussels, according to a book recently published by the Catholic University of Leuven, the top Dutch-language university in Belgium.

In real terms, the number of Muslims in Brussels — where half of the number of Muslims in Belgium currently live — has reached 300,000, which means that the self-styled “Capital of Europe” is one of the most Islamic city in Europe.

Here are excerpts from the Times of Israel report, ‘Climate of hate’ blamed for attack on Brussels Jewish museum that kills 3″:

The murder of three people at the Brussels Jewish Museum Saturday afternoon was a result of “a climate of hate,” said Joel Rubinfeld, the head of the Belgian League against anti-Semitism.

Rubinfeld told AFP it clearly “is a terrorist act” as a man had been seen driving up and entering the museum before opening fire inside and running off.

One person remained in critical condition as a result of the shooting. Twelve people were being treated for shock, according to local sources.

“Two women and one man are dead, a third person is in hospital,” Interior Minister Joelle Milquet said at the scene. “We don’t yet know if they were tourists or staff, they haven’t been identified.”

Asked whether she believed it was an anti-Semitic attack, she said it was too early to say as a police and judicial inquiry was under way but that given the target “there are strong grounds for presuming so”.

One man was reported in custody after the attack.

Milquet said the government had moved to increase protection at Jewish buildings as well as the Israeli embassy.

The country’s foreign minister, Didier Reynders, tweeted Saturday that he was “shocked by the murders committed at the Jewish museum.”

“I am thinking of the victims I saw there and their families,” he said.

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Forensic experts examine the site of a shooting at the Jewish museum in Brussels, Saturday, May 24, 2014. (Photo credit: AP/Yves Logghe)

The La Libre newspaper said on its website that an Audi had driven up and parked outside the museum, and that both a passenger and the driver had gotten out.

It said the driver placed two bags on the ground and then opened fire on bystanders before driving off.

“A person wearing a backpack was seen opening fire before fleeing,” Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF) reported [in French].

Police and emergency services were at the site, which was blocked off in the Belgian capital.

The Jewish Museum of Belgium, which was not answering calls, is located in the heart of the Sablon district which is home to the city’s top antique dealers. The area is a popular weekend haunt for shoppers.

The museum is not run by the Jewish community, and is therefore open on Saturdays. There were visitors at the museum at the time of the shooting.

The head of Belgium’s Jewish Consistory told La Libre that “is is probably a terrorist act. For us it is an extremely serious act.”

Read more: ‘Climate of hate’ blamed for attack on Brussels Jewish museum that kills 3 | The Times of Israel

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RELATED STORY: Tel Aviv Couple Among Four Dead in Attack on Brussels Jewish Museum

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.