In an interview with the Belgium newspaper De Standaard, Belgium's Interior Minister Jan Jambon said that the country is hit by a cancer of extremism, and that a substantial portion of Muslims in the country celebrate when terrorist attacks happen.
Speaking to the Flemish-language newspaper, Jan Jambon did not specifically refer to the attacks on Brussels Airport and a metro station last month which left 32 people dead, but said there is a “cancer” of extremism running through Belgian society that the government is struggling to fight.
The minister also blamed Muslims living in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, for having attacked police during the arrest of the Paris-terrorist Salah Abdeslam last month. This is in his opinion symptomatic of a problem that goes deeper than just the terrorists themselves.
"Terrorists we can pick up, remove from society. But they are just a boil. Underneath is a cancer that is much more difficult to treat. We can do it, but it won’t be overnight".
He said the country had "for many years ignored the warning signs" of extremism.
After a storm of criticism for his remarks, Jambon had to apologise for using the word "substantial", and the Prime Minister has made it necessary to say that the support for terrorists is coming from a "small minority".
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