Islamic (Welfare) State: ‘Belgium taxpayers paid for terrorist attack’

An accommodation centre for refugees in Namur, Belgium © Francois Lenoir
We discovered that most of the Syrian fighters returning to Belgium get allowances after proving that they are not able to get work. This is a general phenomenon, Gerolf Annemans, Vlaams Belang Party, told RT.

Belgian investigators revealed at least five of the suspects behind the terror attacks on Paris and Brussels were receiving welfare benefits prior to the atrocities. The Wall Street Journal was one of the first media outlets that reported on the story. 

RT: How is it possible that people, who later turned out to be terrorists, were receiving welfare benefits? 

Gerolf Annemans: People must know that Belgium is one of the most Islamised countries of Western Europe. My party especially concentrates on Jihadi fighters coming back from Syria and what they are still receiving after they’ve gone to Syria. Some of them received health care; we repaired their legs, etc. We discovered also that most of these Syrian fighters get allowances after proving that they are not able to get work. So this is a general phenomenon.

Now we are very glad, because the Belgium press put this aside, never focused on it and never mentioned it. And we are very glad that The Wall Street Journal does this now and that we are joined now by the international press, because in Belgium the battle is very severe. The media and the regime are doing this because of what we call the Islamosocialism. All governments in Belgium are either left-wing or central-left wing, or at least are doing what they are doing now and what has been discovered now. 

RT: Islamic State has previously encouraged its followers to tap into the European benefits system. What should be done to prevent them from receiving welfare payments? 

GA: First of all, we have to choose other leaders, elect other leaders; leaders that have steel teeth, and can bite and can fight against Islamization of our society, and for instance blocking the social security. It is an enormous tragedy that we are in this paradox that the Belgium taxpayers paid for this Islamic attacks. We need other leaders, we need other leadership, we need to rethink our western democracies. 

RT: Do you think there could be more incidents like this? 

GA: Well, we have the tragedy of the asylum seekers, the millions that come now and that are all on our social security, because only a tiny minority gets work and helps our economy, or deals with our economy. So most of them end up in our social security system, which is, by the way, the reason why they come to Europe. They don’t stop where it is safe, or where there are no bullets shot anymore. They stop where there is social security. That is why they come to Germany, to Belgium, to Holland, and not to the other countries that they travel leaving Syria. This is a serious mistake to think that we have to change the people of Europe, that we have to exchange them with a new Islamic and mostly Muslim people. This is a failure, a mistake, politically, culturally, in every sense of the word. 

RT: Many of the attacks were carried out not by refugees, but by the people who were born or raised in the EU. How do you propose to deal with those kind of people? 

GA: These people, the people that are here, and are peaceful, and are not radicalizing, or are not promoting Muslim society on Western Europe soil, these people should get the message from our politicians, from our political regimes that they should adapt to our culture of our society. And for the rest we should close the borders that the EU opened widely. We must not let [Angela] Merkel decide our future. People and countries like ours should decide upon that themselves. The Merkel, the [Jean-Claude] Juncker, and the EU way of dealing with these problems is not the way we want it. The people should stand up and vote for leaders in their countries that promise to stop all these. 

Jean Bricmont, author and political commentator, professor at the Université catholique de Louvain 

RT: How is it possible that people, who later turned out to be terrorists, were getting welfare benefits? 

Jean Bricmont: I think that is a very bad argument. Of course, if the people knew that they were plotting terrorist attack then it was not a matter of cutting welfare, but putting them away in jail, or under surveillance, or something. The argument against welfare, which is used here, is very bad. It suggests that we should cut welfare, but to whom? To all the Muslim, to all the suspects, to everybody? The present government is already cutting welfare, and welfare has been cut and cut over the years. I think if anything it will probably increase the danger, because it would put more people in a precarious situation, which may lead them to violent action.

I don’t think welfare is the problem at all. In fact fiscal fraud is much, much bigger than the welfare spending. So if welfare could prevent the terrorist attack it would be a very small amount of money. You might find it shocking that people on welfare kill other people, but what is shocking is not that they get welfare, but that they kill other people. If they had a job and were not receiving welfare, I would find it just as terrible and shocking.  

It seems to me that The Wall Street Journal, in line with its neoliberal agenda, is trying to use this argument against welfare, which I think is a very bad argument. It has absolutely nothing to do with it. It is psychologically shocking, but stop and think about it. Stop welfare to whom?  If we know that they are terrorists than it is not a matter of welfare, it is a matter of putting them under police control – so a very different business. 

RT: Islamic State has previously encouraged its followers to tap into the European benefits system.  You would prefer then to ignore that fact, wouldn’t you? 

JB: Well, the question is: what did the police know? Obviously we should fight the Islamic State. I myself would be in favor of joining Russia in Syria and fighting them, other than doing what  we do, which is inefficient bombing. That is a problem on the ground, it is not a problem of Belgian citizens, or even migrants in European countries… 

RT: How do you assess the level of security in the EU right now in the wake of a spate of horrific attacks, many of which were carried out by refugees? 

JB: It is pretty bad, but the point is that they are not refugees. Many of these people were citizens of the European countries. They grew up here. I don’t know every individual case, but many of the terrorists grew up here. They got very upset with… the trouble we created in the Middle East and the instability we created there.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.