First Published: 2002-11-29

 
Riots in Antwerp sparked by killing of Moroccan
 

Belgium clamps down after north African immigrants clash with police to protest against Moroccan's murder.

 

Middle East Online

20 people remain in jail, out of 160 who were arrested during unrest

ANTWERP, Belgium - Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt condemned Thursday riots in Antwerp sparked by the killing of a young immigrant, and said he was considering banning an Islamic group in the northern city.

"If necessary we will ban the European Arab League (EAL), but we will do it within the framework of the law and in line with the inquiry which prosecutors are currently pursuing," he told parliament.

Twenty people remained in jail Thursday, out of the 160 who were arrested during the unrest Tuesday and Wednesday in the city, which has a large immigrant population and is a bastion of the far-right.

Between 200 and 250 young protestors, mostly of north African origin, clashed with police for several hours Wednesday evening.

The unrest occurred in the Antwerp district where a 27-year-old Moroccan, a teacher of Islamic religion, was beaten to death on Tuesday by the neighbour of his father.

Stones were thrown and windows and cars were damaged in initial unrest after the killing, and the clashes resumed Wednesday.

Antwerp, Belgian's second city, is a stronghold of the far-right Vlaams Blok party which won more than a third of the votes in municipal elections in October 2000.

The city is home to a large immigrant population, mainly from Morocco and Turkey.

The 66-year-old Belgian suspected of the murder was arrested the same day, and is under arrest pending further investigations.

In initial questioning he appeared "confused," and it was unclear if there was any racist motivation for the attack, said Dominique Reyniers, a prosecution office spokeswoman.

The EAL caused a storm earlier this month when it began organizing patrols to guard against anti-Muslim discrimination by police, amid heightened security due to terrorist threats.

The EAL has some 100 members and has no links with the Arab League, according to the Belgian press. It is headed by Dyab Abou JahJah, a Lebanese-born local Muslim who has caused controversy since September 11 by a number of statements.

He has notably called for Arabic to be recognized as a fourth official language in Belgium, after French, Dutch and German.

On Thursday the EAL said it would sue Antwerp mayor Leona Detiege for defamation. "Detiege has said many things about us which he cannot prove, giving people a wrong impression of us and of our cause," said EAL official Ahmed Azzuz.

 

US troops to return to Mideast

Palestinians to UN: Israel occupation must end in 2016

Assad: Countries that backed terrorism can't defeat jihadists

Libya militants vow to continue ‘military operations’

Foreign jihad lures Tunisia youth: About 3,000 in Syria alone

Skeptical Netanyahu seeks Obama reassurances on Iran

Turkey pushes for long-term solution to ‘Islamic State’ crisis

Metamorphosis of Salim Benghalem: From weed-smoking clubber to US-wanted jihadist

Violence across Iraq kills at least 1,119 people in September

Bahrain court lifts travel ban on Maryam al-Khawaja

Israel, Palestinians agree on one thing: Futility of peace talks

Netanyahu to Ban Ki-moon: Probe into Gaza war ‘one-sided’!

Kurds battle to defend strategic border town in Syria

Iran Nobel laureate questions Tutu's silence on Dalai Lama visa row

Iraqi Kurds hope US-led air strikes can break stalemate

Argentine President charges US could kill her

IS jihadists close in on Turkish border

Israel settlers forcefully occupy 25 homes in East Jerusalem

Gunmen wound Saudi policeman in Shiite village in Eastern Province

Erakat likens Netanyahu to leader of ‘Islamic State’

Voters to choose among 27 candidates in Tunisia presidential race

Iran offers military equipment to Lebanon army

Iran extends compulsory military service to 2 years

Frustration grows over Huthi occupation of Yemen capital

US-led air strikes pound ‘Islamic State’ near Syria border town

Britain plans action against extremism ‘in all its forms’

Vigilante groups terrorise Syria refugees in Lebanon

Kurd troops launch offensive on IS on three fronts

Balkans clamp down on jihadist recruitment

Syrian refugees try their luck in Latin America

Indian PM warns US to repeat Iraq 'mistake' in Afghanistan

Israel PM warns Iran poses gravest threat to world

Kuwait strips 18 nationals of citizenship

Ahead of Tunisia elections, Ghannouchi appeals for US support

Israel deploys extra forces as two faiths mark major holy days

Egypt, Libya plunge in good governance rating

Saudi Arabia breaks silence on Huthi occupation of Yemen capital

Air strikes fail to halt advance of IS jihadists in Syria

Rival Libya factions meet for reconciliation talks

Iran-P5+1 nuclear talks ‘to resume’ by mid-October

HRW criticises human rights rollback under Erdogan

Syria's Nusra Front chief warns to transfer battle to West

Obama admits to making serious mistake: We underestimated ‘Islamic State’

Germany begins training Kurdish fighters from northern Iraq

Jordan takes ‘precautionary measures’ to secure borders