Investigations into the recent Paris attacks thrust Brussels once again into the terrorism limelight as two of the eight terrorists as well as two cars used by the attackers were traced back to the small Belgian city.
The development gave rise to the serious question: How did this small European city become a pit stop for terrorists and a breeding ground for such activities?
The answer actually isn’t complex. Bilal Benyaich, a researcher working on the spread of radical Islam in Belgium, says several reasons linked to the spread of jihadists in Brussels:
1. The current unemployment rate in Molenbeek is 30%, adding to the instability of the community.
2. It is suggested that a combination of the government’s failure to integrate immigrants, along with overcrowding, has led to Jihadism.
3. Over the last few years, a significant rise in the sale of high powered weapons has been observed in the black market. One can purchase a military weapon for a sum of $500-$1,000 in a mere half-hour.
4. The easy access to guns has given a rise to the culture of owning weapons and weak governance and administration hampers efforts of preventing arm smuggling adding to the already bleak scenario.
Considering the above, it is indeed worrisome for Brussels to appear as a breeding ground for terrorists within Europe. It's dangerous not only for the city, but for the entire continent.
This also calls for better city and law administration as well as controlling the black market for weapons to ensure a safer future for Brussels and Europe on the whole.