Belgian minister to be prosecuted over anti-Muslim jibe


Interior Minister Jan Jambon ©AFP

A number of Belgians have brought a criminal case against Interior Minister Jan Jambon over his ‘offensive comments about Muslims’ following Daesh terror attacks in Brussels.
Speaking to the Flemish-language newspaper De Standaard on April 16, Jambon claimed that a “significant” number of Belgian Muslim population celebrated the deadly assaults.
The minister, a member of the right-wing Flemish party N-VA, was broadly criticized for his remarks.
Jambon later defended the comments, but claimed that he did not mean to “stigmatize a whole community.”
On March 22, two men set off their explosives in the departure hall of the Brussels airport in coordinated blasts that also hit a metro station in the Belgian capital. A total of 32 people lost their lives in the attacks claimed by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Marchers gather a memorial to victims of the Brussels terror attacks in Brussels, , April 17, 2016. ©AP

A group of Belgians citizens gathered outside the Palace of Justice on Friday before they brought their complaint with the prosecutor’s office, accusing Jambon of discrimination.
Lawyer Marie Pierre said that the official’s remarks only served to stoke tension.
“We do not accept this. This is not normal. The job of an interior minister is to ensure security. However, these words increase tension in the society,” Pierre said.
Another complainant, Liesbet Temmerman, also called on the interior minister to either take his words back or apologize.
Meanwhile, Turkish-origin lawmaker, Veli Yuksel, described Jambon’s claims as “unacceptable,” adding, “Portraying a large part of Muslims as if they are supporting terrorism is very dangerous.”
Another Turkish-Belgian MP, Mahinur Ozdemir, further condemned the comments as “divisive.”

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