Counterterrorism raids in Molenbeek
Special units have arrested several suspects in the course of large-scale raids in the Brussels district of Molenbeek. A trail left by the Paris attackers leads to this neighbourhood which is considered a hub for Islamists. Some commentators call for a clampdown on milieus that turn young people into killing machines. Others call on Muslims to do more to distance themselves from radical ideologies.
Mutual recriminations in Belgium are pointless
The trail left by those who carried out the attacks in Paris has led to the Brussels district of Molenbeek. A dispute has now broken out in Belgium over who was responsible for the district's decline and the ensuing radicalisation of its predominantly Muslim youth. There's no point shuffling the blame back and forth, the liberal daily De Standaard warns: "This lamentable spectacle does nothing to help a society in shock. ... If we don't know how decisive the political mistakes in Molenbeek or higher up were, we can't be sure that the steps being taken to counter radicalism elsewhere will prevent further attacks. ... The unsettled population understands that no one can guarantee absolute security. But the people do expect that everyone in a position of responsibility will now draw the right conclusions. We're not powerless against this enemy. But we cannot allow ourselves to get bogged down in domestic quarrels."
Fight against terror starts in the ghettos
The war on terror can only be successful in cooperation with Muslim communities, the centre-left daily Politiken stresses: "If you want to declare war on Islamist terror, you must also declare war on decades of failed accommodation and integration policy from Mjølnerparken [in Copenhagen] to Molenbeek [in Brussels]. And that is a laborious task. ... Here and now we must take stringent action against the milieus in which vulnerable young Muslims and converts are transformed into killing machines. A considerable part of this effort must go into cooperating with the mosques and local Muslim associations. They can offer Muslim alternatives to the violent world views that are preached in shady congregations and sectarian chatrooms on the Internet. You have to be clear on the fact that most imams - just like most Muslims - have every interest in fighting these ruthless obscurantists."
Only integration can counter radicalisation
Ghettos in Europe like the Brussels district of Molenbeek are a hotbed for the IS terrorist organisation, the centre-left daily De Volkskrant warns, calling on both the government and the Muslim communities to do more to foster integration: "Those people who have now declared war on Europe must be stripped of any semblance of legitimacy. Getting rid of Europe's ghettos won't get rid of the IS. But with an active integration policy, Europe's governments can make terrorism a less attractive option for youths who are disadvantaged and those who feel disadvantaged. And the Muslim societies in Europe must not stand on the sidelines here. ... They must commit to peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims in this part of the world. That means that the democratic rule of law must take priority over solidarity with those sections of their population that have so far denied - or endorsed - radicalisation."
Sweden's Muslims silent on radicalism
Based on population, after Belgium Sweden is the European country from which the most people have been recruited by the IS. But this problem is not being openly addressed by the Muslims living in the country, the conservative daily Svenska Dagbladet comments: "Unfortunately the Muslim communities have so far done a bad job of fighting radical Islam. Those who have tried to openly address the problem have been branded as racists or Islamophobes. One might ask why: often they condemn an Islamophobe Western world that is intent on fighting Islam - the same story al-Qaeda and the IS are telling their supporters. … Now there must be an end to this. We are not supporting radical Islam just because we defend Muslims against absurd accusations. And we are not Islamophobes just because we see the great danger that radical Islamism represents."
Imams must distance themselves from terror
Muslims across the world have not been critical enough of terrorist attacks committed in the name of Islam, the Islamic-conservative daily Zaman criticises: "Unfortunately the mindset of the majority of Islamic priests does not allow them to condemn these massacres and mass killings. Some Muslims still aren't capable of condemning terrorism without adding a whole barrage of ifs, ands and buts. Even many educated Islamic scholars have been unable to bring themselves to say that the suicide commandos are using un-Islamic methods. ... 9/11 was a serious test for the Islamic world. But Islamic opinion makers could not - or did not want to - sufficiently condemn this ominous terrorist attack on the twin towers in which thousands of people died."