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Twenty-First Century Crusades?

Prediction 1: Continued tension and backlash against Muslims in Europe

Muslim stigmatization increasing in Europe
Arabic News

Just after a 17-year-old Belgian teenager was stabbed to death at the busy Brussels Central train station on April 12, both the Belgian media and officials suggested that his killers were of "North African" origin, implying they were Muslims.

Imams in Friday sermons in Brussels denounced the killing as a heinous crime and urged the Muslim community to cooperate with the police to find the murderers.

Police even distributed video footage and pictures of the suspected "North Africans." But it has turned out that the killers of the Belgian youth were not "North Africans" but were from Poland.

Local media reports said one of the two suspects has been arrested by the police while the other has escaped to Poland.

Belgium's Muslim Executive, the official body representing Muslims in the country, said that it regrets that the media had called for the killers to be sought among the country's North African community.

The Executive expressed its displeasure that the mistake had led to speculation about the religion of the killers.

It said that as a result stigmatization of Belgian Muslims has increased.

Meanwhile, the Brussels Public Prosecutor's Office has apologized for saying that the suspects were North African in appearance.

Some 80,000 demonstrators walked through Brussels Sunday to protest the killing of the teenager.

An estimated 400,000 Muslims, mainly from the North African countries of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and Turkey, live in Belgium.

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