With the Islamic State (ISIS) heading for collapse, Belgium is bracing for the return of hundreds of jihadi fighters deserting the ranks of the Islamic Caliphate in Syria and Iraq. The western European country, which pursued a liberal immigration policy in recent decades, produced the highest number of foreign ISIS fighters per capita of EU countries — up to 700 in total.
More than 100 foreign fighters have returned to the country so far and more as expected to arrive, largely thanks to Trump administration’s “annihilation” strategy against the Islamist group.
Belgium’s capital Brussels, which also serves as the de-facto capital of the European Union, has emerged as a major center of Islamist activity in Europe. The Muslim-dominated Molenbeek district of Brussels has been described by the media as the “Europe’s crucible of terror” and a “no-go-zone” even for the Belgian police. ....
With hundreds of battle-hardened Islamic State terrorists returning to the country, Belgium faces the biggest national crisis since the end of the Second World War. German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported the situation in Belgium developing :
More than 100 foreign fighters have returned to Belgium, with more to follow. Some want to leave their past behind, others want to “disappear” and pose a headache for the authorities.
European governments have been warned for years to be prepared for some dreaded homecomings — radicalized citizens returning from “Islamic State” (IS) war zones. As the global coalition retakes territory that IS once claimed as its “caliphate,” some fighters who hold European passports are expected to make full use of them.
Belgium is the European country with the highest per capita number of so-called foreign terrorist fighters and the prospect of weapons-trained, ideologically hostile individuals showing up back in their old neighborhoods makes everyone nervous. Earlier returnees trying to start anew refuse to discuss their reintegration. (…)
Local officials are being forced to manage this situation largely on their own due to a lack of federal initiatives.
Germany, France, and the UK, with a large number of ISIS fighters returning home, face a similar dilemma.
The German government is actively seeking the return of ‘ISIS-brides’ and their children, citing“humanitarian considerations and Germany’s duty to protect its citizens.” Many of these women may have participated in acts of terror and their children have undergone indoctrination by ISIS instructors.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry has intensified its diplomatic efforts to bring back the wives and children of ISIS fighters despite repeated warnings by country’s intelligence agencies.
“We see the danger of children who socialized with and were indoctrinated by jihadists returning to Germany from the war zones,” the chief of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency BfV, Hans-Georg Maassen, warned last October. “This could allow a new generation of jihadists to be raised here.”
Germany isn’t the only European country welcoming back Islamic State fighters — or war criminals, to be precise.
The British government is offering taxpayer-funded housing and other economic and welfare benefits to the returning ISIS terrorists. “The plans — code-named Operation Constrain — could see returning ISIS fanatics jump to the top of council house waiting lists and offered counseling,” British daily The Sun reported in October. The plan also offers provision for psychological counseling for ‘traumatized’ jihadis.
Not willing to be outdone, the Scandinavian country of Denmark is running its hilarious “Hug a Jihadi” program. Yes, that’s the official name of the program. The Danish police running the program believe that “helping young extremists is the best way to keep the peace” and “[t]reating them harshly” or “with suspicion” will make “them more of a danger to society.”
According to the EU counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, out of 5,000 jihadis who left Europe to join ISIS around 1,500 are now back home. Nearly 1,000 ISIS terrorists holding European nationalities have reportedly been killed in Syria and Iraq. Those who manage to survive the Islamic State’s military collapse will be heading home to Europe.