Problem neighbourhoods as terrorist hotbeds?

In the aftermath of the Paris and Brussels attacks commentators examine the so-called problem neighbourhoods inhabited by socially marginalised people with a migrant background. What is going wrong in neighbourhoods like Molenbeek where terrorists were able to plan their attacks without security services getting wind of them?

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Público (PT) /

Prevent growth of ghettos in Europe's cities

In order to tackle terror effectively the ghettoisation phenomenon in European cities must be countered, political scientist José Pedro Teixeira Fernandes writes in the liberal daily Público:

“The EU leaders live and interact in a multicultural and cosmopolitan world that is entirely removed from the reality of everyday life for normal citizens. … If they held their EU summits in neighbourhoods like Molenbeek or Forest they would have realised long ago what an explosive society is emerging in these places. … But that is by no means only a problem in Belgium because you will find similar ghettos on the outskirts of Paris, Marseilles, London, Birmingham, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Cologne, Berlin, Malmo and other cities. The list is long and growing. So it's not surprising that the IS and other radical Islamic groups will continue to expand in these European societies. Terrorism is their political weapon. The ghetto is their natural habitat.”

Le Soir (BE) /

How do neighbourhoods become hotbeds of terror?

France's Minister for Cities, Youth and Sport Patrick Kanner has announced that France has hundreds of neighbourhoods like Molenbeek in Brussels. We must urgently examine why such locations become terrorist hotbeds, liberal daily Le Soir urges:

“Something went wrong in Molenbeek which led to the community being isolated. Was it the lack of cultural mix and the large concentration of ethnic groups and religions, which were then knowingly or at least naively tolerated by politicians? Was too much attention paid to urban development and not enough to social cohesion? By answering these questions and exchanging information we will not only gain a better understanding of the situation but also help the residents of these communities who are held hostage both to the reality on the ground and to the stigmatisation of their communities.”

Expressen (SE) /

Don't make problems with Muslims taboo topic

Those in Sweden who draw attention to the problems in predominantly Muslim neighbourhoods come under attack themselves, the liberal daily Expressen criticises:

“Left-leaning politicians like Zeliha Dagli and Amineh Kakabaveh are accused of dividing society because they report on the presence of guardians of public morals in Swedish suburbs. A liberal like Per Pettersson is criticised for the same reason when he describes how he's been harassed as a homosexual and wants to move out of the Husby district. The same goes for terror experts Magnus Ranstorp and Magnus Sandelin, who have long been warning of the emergence of jihadist groups and who were recently accused of pointing their fingers at Muslims and Islam. In a growing number of circles it seems that the biggest problem isn't jihadism or religious intolerance, but people who dare to bring up these issues.”