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.

 

Ansar al-Sharia denies killing of Abu Iyadh in US air strike

Egypt ‘in state of war’ on second anniversary of Islamist ouster

No guarantee of success as Iran nuclear talks inch closer to lasting deal

Ankara has no plans for imminent intervention in Syria

Iraq Christians train for jihad against IS

Rockets from Sinai strike Israel

Palestinians arrest 100 Hamas members in West Bank

Erdogan inaugurates public mosque in palace

Islamists form alliance in battle for Aleppo

Top Tunisian jihadist reportedly killed by US strike in Libya

Emir attends joint Shiite, Sunni prayers in Kuwait

Hamas denies involvement in Sinai attacks

4 Qaeda suspects killed in US drone attack in Yemen

'Series of errors' behind Air Algerie crash in Mali

21 killed in clashes, strikes in Yemen's Aden

GCC states vow united stand against IS mosque bombings

Palestinians protest one year after teenager burned alive

Egypt vows to wipe out 'dens of terror'

Tunisia arrests eight in connection with beach massacre

Youth in Tunisia 'ripe for radicalisation'

UN sends mission to 'assess' South Sudan atrocities

Syria urges citizens to enlist

AQAP step up campaign to eradicate qat

British FM: 'No breakthrough yet' in Iran nuclear talks

UN imposes first sanctions on six South Sudan generals

Libya rival governments will not return to peace talks

Fighting rages in Yemen’s Aden

Egypt government adopts anti-terror law

Kurds warn Turkey against any ‘aggression’ in Syria

Kuwait makes DNA tests mandatory after suicide bombing

Kuwait parliament approves deficit budget on oil slide

Pro-Erdogan candidate becomes new speaker of Turkey parliament

‘War’ in Sinai Peninsula as clashes with ISIS fighters rage on

All 38 victims of Tunisia beach massacre identified

36 killed in wave of IS attack on Egyptian soldiers

Iran vs. Israel gets cartoon treatment

IAEA chief to fly to Iran for nuclear talks

Saudi prince pledges fortune to charity

Syria Kurds regain full control of Tal Abyad

Palestinian PM to make 'temporary' cabinet reshuffle

20 civilians killed in rebel fire on Yemen's Aden

Iran nuclear talks go into extra time

Gulf states urged to follow Kuwait on maid rights

Yemen rebels free 1,200 prisoners

Negotiators extend deadline for Iran nuclear talks