Date: Thu 12 Dec 2002 - 18:31:49 GMT
Abu Jahjah is the verbally fluent and charming president
and founder of the Arab European League (AEL), a two-
year old extremist organization growing rapidly in Belgium,
which is now planning to plant itself in The Netherlands as
Jahjah led an outburst of violence in the Flemish port city of
Antwerp a fortnight ago.
After a Moroccan school teacher was killed by a Flemish
man (who turned out to have serious psychological
problems), Moroccan youths wrecked cars, looted shops,
and clashed with police for three days. Jahjah was arrested
under pressure from the Belgian prime minister, released a
few days later, and prohibited from participating in public
demonstrations for the next three months.
Abu Jahjah (31) was born in Lebanon, where he joined
Hezbullah when he was 17 (link in Dutch). He ended up in
Belgium in 1992. Allegedly, he claimed to be an Hezbullah
apostate who had to fear for his life. In 1995, Belgium
wanted to throw him out of the country, so he quickly
arranged a marriage with a gullible Belgian woman. The
bogus marriage lasted just long enough to win him Belgian
The Arab European League is characterized by its
antisemitism, violence, and street tactics. One of the more
notorious activities of the AEL is sending surveillance
teams, clad in black uniform, onto the streets of Antwerp to
"monitor" the police, who are accused of discriminating against Muslims. The Belgian prime minister, in turn, has accused the AEL of aiming to create "police-free zones", where criminal activity can then take place unchecked.
The political views of Abu Jahjah sound familiar:
"We are against the war, against all American wars...We are
opposed to the war of Bush and Sharon. We are opposed to
the sanctions [against Iraq] and the inspections. This is not
the last time we will be on the streets. If war breaks out, we
will demonstrate everywhere in the world: in Brussels,
Paris, and Baghdad. We have to arm ourselves to continue
our struggle. We need to arm all those who want to resist
the United States. Because everywhere in the world there is
one fight: against the United States. Today and in the
future. We support the resistance in Palestine and in Iraq.
We support everyone who battles today against zionism
and imperialism." (my translation)
It is not known who funds the AEL, but as they don't accept
subsidy from the Belgian government, there is speculation
that they are financed by foreign governments (Syria, Iran,
Saudi Arabia?). Rumor has it the AEL was set up by the
World Muslim League, which is sponsored by Saudi Arabia.
Some parents of rioting kids claimed their sons were
persuaded to join the riots in return for mobile phones and
other hand-outs. The AEL is also behind the recent attempt
to indict Ariel Sharon in Belgium for human rights abuses.
They confirmed they received foreign financial support to
pay for the lawsuit. After being released from police
custody, Jahjah declared victory, promising that he would
run for the Belgian parliament in June and threatening to
sue the prime minister for libel.
The latest development is AEL's plan to set up shop in the
Netherlands. The Netherlands is attractive for radical
Muslims, in part because of its generous schooling system.
It's easy to start your own school, and all primary schools,
including religious ones, are subsidized by the state. The 32-
year old M'Hamed Zaghboubi, "an unemployed migrant", ,
announced yesterday (link in Dutch) in the Dutch evening
paper NRC Handelsblad that the Dutch franchise of the AEL
will be formally founded in February. To show what
Europe is dealing with, I have translated parts of the
Even though a majority is doing well, the crime among Moroccan
youths is very high, isn't it?
"You think that's strange? Since the eighties kids have been trained to take over their fathers' jobs in the factories. The Dutch education system has failed. It differentiates between Dutch and foreign students.... Foreigners are treated like Untermenschen (Hitler's term for the Jews, ed.)"
So the fault doesn't lie with the immigrants?
The guilt for the problems that foreign kids cause lies with
Dutch society. Absolutely. That's why we have to increase
self-awareness amongst Moroccan kids. It would be good if
there is an AEL in every city."
[...] You want to start surveilling the Dutch police by Moroccan youths, just like the AEL in Belgium. Don't you think that's radical and provocative? What would be wrong with that! It's absolutely my right as a citizen to monitor the police and report any incidents to the proper authorities.
Is the Dutch police just as racist as the one in Antwerp?
Yes, but more subtle and smart than their Belgian
Why would Moroccan kids, who are mostly Berber, be attracted by
an Arab league?
Islam binds us all, all young people from North-Africa.
In a recent interview on Dutch TV, Abu Jahjah said: "It
would be fantastic if empty planes would be flown into the
Let me leave you with this note. The Dutch parliament
convened recently to discuss the possibility of banning the
AEL. It turns out the law doesn't allow for this possibility.
Besides, the minister of Justice didn't feel there was any
need to ban AEL. Welcome to 21st century Europe.
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