Belgium has become a major hotbed for radicalization in Europe. At least 380 Belgians have travelled to Syria as foreign fighters, giving Belgium the largest number of jihadists per capita at 33.9 fighters per one million residents. Radicalized Belgian Muslims are significantly involved not only in terrorist attacks in Belgium, but throughout Europe. What has caused Belgium to become this fertile a ground for Islamic radicalization?
This paper points to the low levels of employment, high levels of discrimination, low educational achievement, poor integration, and inconsistent governmental funding pervasive among the Belgian Muslim community. These poor demographic realities of the Belgian Muslim community might be significant in providing a fertile ground for radical Islamic parties and organizations to influence and recruit.
This paper analyzes Islamic radicalization in Belgium. The first part of this paper examines Belgian-Muslim demographics, including population, integration, political participation, and organization. Then, Belgian Islamic radicalization is examined through the theoretical frameworks of both McCauley and Moskalenko and Social Movement Theory. To conclude, this paper considers governmental responses and recommendations for future preventative actions.