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Wednesday, September 20, 2017


A private security guard helps a terrorism victim outside a metro station in Brussels

A private security guard helps a terrorism victim outside a metro station in Brussels

Seven Belgian entrepreneurs were denied entry to the U.S. last week because of their links to the Brussels neighborhood that has become synonymous with radical Islamism, it has been claimed.

The 14-strong team from digital startup MolenGeek, a play on the name of the west Brussels area of Molenbeek, was set to travel to the U.S. to hold meetings with Facebook, Google, and Twitter in Silicon Valley, as well as U.N. officials at their headquarters in New York City.

But half the team members were denied travel authorizations, forcing them to apply for emergency visas to try to make it to the U.S. in time. The seven members who were permitted to travel stayed behind with their seven colleagues. Each member was left with $3,577 in cancellation costs. 

Ibrahim Ouassari, co-founder of MolenGeek, told Belgian daily newspaper La Libre Belgique that he and the team believe it is their ties to the suburb that caused the refusal of entry.

"People have preconceived ideas about Molenbeek," he said. "I find it really hard to believe that what happened was a mere coincidence."

The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment. European citizens must obtain electronic system travel authorizations (ESTAs) before they head for American soil.

All team members but one were eventually allowed to travel to the U.S. after Belgian diplomats stepped in. One member was on a travel blacklist.

"Everything is in order, the #MolenGeek team will be able to travel to the U.S. Bon voyage!" Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders tweeted.

But for Ouassari and the MolenGeek team, the U.S. denial sent a message. "People are extremely frustrated and disappointed. What happened obviously awakens old ghosts," he said. 

"It has made Molenbeek locals remember something they have been striving to forget: the fact that they will always be seen as outsiders."

Molenbeek, a predominantly Muslim area of west Brussels that hosts almost 100,000 people, has been connected with radical Islamist activity since the worst attack in Europe by the Islamic State group, the coordinated shooting and suicide bomb assaults on different locations in Paris that left 130 people dead on November 13, 2015.

At least two members of the ISIS cell, Belgian brothers of Moroccan descent Brahim and Salah Abdeslam, were from Molenbeek. Salah decided against going through with the attack before the cell activated; he fled across the French-Belgian border, leading to a four-month manhunt. Belgian forces eventually found him in a raid near his family home in Molenbeek in March 2016.

Also from Molenbeek is Mohamed Abrini, Abdeslam's friend, who was seen at Brussels airport in a bucket hat before a double suicide bombing there, which happened on the same morning as another suicide bombing at the city's Maalbeek subway station. The ISIS-claimed attacks left 32 people dead.

Belgium was at one point the biggest exporter of jihad per capita to Iraq and Syria, with 190 nationals fighting for radical Islamist groups in the Middle East as of 2015. Of those, 101 were from Brussels, according to researchers. Before the near-fall of ISIS's self-proclaimed caliphate, Molenbeek had the highest concentration of foreign fighters in Europe.



It can take thousands of years to build up a good reputation but only one big mistake will ruin all the good works that have been built. Unfortunately, the history of Belgium, in regard to Africa, immigrants, and poor integration, have tainted the image of the country beyond remedy. 

Surprisingly, they are not prepared to change or be a new leaf.

The entrepreneurs who were denied entry to the U.S don't deserve this but it happened because of the political system of Belgium, which is like a country that supports terrorism and crime. 

So many countries committed crimes during the first and second World Wars, in the time of slavery, during the time of colonialism and Apartheid. Some of these countries didn't only show remorse for the wrong they did but apologized and destroyed every monument supporting such crimes.

For example, the Germans made sure that streets named after Adolf Hitler were changed. All symbols and artifacts of Nazis were banned. The fact that he killed over six million Jews, and committed other heinous crimes, the German government made sure that no statue erected in his name.

And recently, based on concerns for the public safety of the citizens of the United States of America, many Confederate memorials in the cities and towns were either removed or replaced.

Therefore, how do you expect the US government to treat the Belgian entrepreneurs if the Belgium government and the royal family are worshipping the statue of Leopold II, a king who killed over 10 million Africans, including women and children? It's completely insane to build the statue of someone who committed such a grave crime but the Belgian government did.

Last year, a letter denouncing this senseless statue was sent to the Belgian Royal family, the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel, to consider breaking down the statue because it portrays Belgium as a barbaric uncivilized country and we received a response from the Prime Minister but nothing has been done so far.

Will you then blame the US government for denying those entrepreneurs entry to the US? Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy and let your words and deeds be clean and they will reflect on you.

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