Belgian security crackdown ‘should not target Muslims’

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BRUSSELS

In the wake of the Paris attacks on Nov.13, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called for constitutional changes to support a crackdown on homegrown extremists.

Michel’s calls for introducing laws to force suspected extremists to wear bracelets, close unregistered places of worship and to allow police search homes at any time of the day and night have raised concerns among the Muslim population in Belgium, a Belgian politician of Turkish origin has said.

“The new measures and steps taken against terror should not be shown as an attitude against Muslims,” said Veli Yuksel, member of the Belgian Federal Parliament.

“We are all on the same page against terrorism; we will all stand up against terrorism, which has no religion, race or nationality,” Yuksel said.

Police raids in the Molenbeek district of Brussels against key suspects over their alleged connection to the Paris attacks has put the neighborhood under spotlight in terms of radicalism and terror recruitment.

But locals living in the mainly foreign-populated district say they did not want to be stigmatized because of the Paris attacks.

Belgium has the highest number of foreign fighters per capita in Europe, according to a UN report issued a year ago. According to Belgium’s Interior Ministry, there are about 270 Belgian citizens in Syria.

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