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Belgium's Muslims in disbelief after deadly raid on Islamist militants

Friday, January 16, 2015 - 01:51

Belgium's Muslims are in disbelief after a deadly raid on Islamist militants, one of a dozen raids that investigators say foiled a plot to murder police officers across the country. Mana Rabiee reports.

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Belgian Muslims in Verviers arrive for Friday prayers ... trying to make sense of a terror plot in this otherwise quiet town. On Thursday, authorities shot dead two suspected Islamists militants after they opened fire on police with assault weapons. It was one of a dozen raids here and around Brussels that investigators say foiled a plot to murder police officers across the country. Muslims at Friday prayers want to distance themselves from the violence but few, including the Imam, had ideas about how to fight radicalization in their own midst. (SOUNDBITE) (French) IMAM FRANCK HENSCH SAYING: "Sadly, I don't have a solution and I don't think the authorities have one either. Now the main question is, what can we do along with authorities and civil society to find an ultimate solution to this tendency, to this radicalization of young people?" Officials here don't see a link to last week's Paris attacks which included a kosher supermarket. Still, the main Jewish schools in Antwerp are closed as a precaution, as Belgium's Jewish community goes on high alert. Prime Minister Charles Michel is urging people not to panic. But in all Europe, Belgium has one of the highest concentrations of its citizens fighting in Syria, and one man in Verviers says the raid has instilled fear in locals. (SOUNDBITE) (French) LOCAL RESIDENT JASON GLAUDE, SAYING: "Yes, I'm afraid of walking around in the town knowing that there are still jihadists who are going to come back from Syria, that there are jihadists who are clearly going to squat in houses or wherever, in Verviers or elsewhere." Fifteen suspects are in custody and the government has raised its security level to three on a four-point scale.

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Belgium's Muslims in disbelief after deadly raid on Islamist militants

Friday, January 16, 2015 - 01:51