15-year-old from Antwerp on Syrian front

Another Flemish youngster is reported to have left home to join the rebels fighting the Assad regime in Syria. This time the Flemish jihadi is a 15-year-old from Antwerp. He had be reported missing, but has now turned up in Syria. Meanwhile, the Flemish Minister responsible for integration Geert Bourgeois (nationalist) has expressed his concerns about the integration of Muslims in our region.

The 15-year-old was a pupil at the Antwerp Athenaeum. The Headmistress of the school Karin Heremans told VRT Radio 1 that “This week we were officially notified that a pupil from our school is in Syria.”

"Up until then he had thought to be missing, but now we have been given confirmation that he is in Syria.”

"It’s a case of indoctrination. These organisations target youngsters. Their leaders indoctrinate them. I ask myself how we can reverse the brainwashing. They are youths, sensitive youths that have an identity crisis. He is 15.”

Bourgeois expresses concern

The Flemish Minister responsible for integration Geert Bourgeois has expressed concerns about the integration of young Muslims. According to a survey carried out by the daily ‘Gazet van Antwerpen’ the majority of young Muslims doesn’t feel accepted by society at large.

Mr Bourgeois says that there is still a great deal of work to be done. However, he also asks for efforts to be made by the young Muslims themselves.

"If so many youngsters feel that they are discriminated against or say “we don’t feel accepted by society”, it means that we still have a great deal of work to do”, Mr Bourgeois said.

"But it is something that needs to come from both sides. They should also make an effort to participate.”

Mr Bourgeois went on to say that he believes that if you if you asked non-Muslims why Muslims think that they are not accepted they would say: "They are not accepted because they don’t want to join in. The form their own communities.”