MOSCOW, September 25 (RIA Novosti) - European youth are leaving their home countries to fight for the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization in Syria and Iraq because of their dissatisfaction with the Western style of democracy, Belgian historian and Arabist Pieter van Ostaeyen told Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency on Thursday.
“We have reached boiling point. More and more people are leaving, saying that it’s all because of Belgium, because of Belgian politics. The same rhetoric has been seen in France, in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden. They justify their actions by the fact that they have no chances at home, that Western democracy is not really a democracy and that they want to live in an Islamic state, which supports Islamic laws,” Ostaeyen said.
Speaking of the issue of supporters of radical Islam in Belgium, he said that it is mainly “a problem of integration and assimilation.” “In the 1960s and 1970s we invited a lot of immigrants from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Turkey. These people worked in industry and in coal mines. But the government has done nothing toward the integration of people of second, third and now fourth generation.”
He characterized the situation with the Islamic State as a conflict of civilizations. “During the Cold War, our [Western] enemy was mostly Russia. Then, after the collapse of communism, we found a new enemy, which was Islam. And it seems to me that the current course of the West and the Islamic community - not only the Middle East, but also the European Muslim community - will lead to a new level of hatred, discrimination and violence,” the historian stated.
Ostaeyen also said he was disappointed with the fact that Belgium is preparing to join the war with the Islamic State. “The fact that Belgium and the Netherlands are joining the war against the IS will turn against us. We should be wary of not only the guys who are fighting in Syria [for the IS] and may return, but radical elements here in Europe who are able to lead strong attacks. Here in Brussels and Antwerp it is quite simple to buy a gun or a Kalashnikov rifle.”
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting against Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.
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