Vandals broke into the Alaadin mosque at Marchienne-au-Pont on Monday evening. They pulled down two Belgian and Turkish flags and tore them, before destroying some movable objects. According to several witnesses who saw the youth running away, an ambulance siren must have frightened these unwanted visitors.
“We have complained to the local police in Charleroi who assured us that an investigation would be carried out”, said Coskun Beyazgül, spokesperson for the Diyanet of Belgium, which includes 67 of the country’s mosques. “At the time of the tragic events in Norway and given the Islamophobic tendencies of the perpetrator, this attack on the Alaaddin mosque worries and saddens us. We therefore firmly condemn this act, hoping that the economic crisis in Europe does not degenerate into a social crisis. We therefore expect the authorities to take the necessary preventive measures to preserve social cohesion.”
For now, the local police have little to go on, despite the evidence collected. Last April, the Lodelinsart mosque was the object of a similar act of vandalism, but of a more markedly racist character. Besides the insults and swastikas written on the walls of the building, a pig’s head had been left outside the entrance. It was an act that shocked Muslims in the Charleroi region and the entire country.
The latest events in Marchienne appear by contrast to be vandalism pure and simple, the work of some idle youth during the holiday period.