Mohamed Abdeslam is the brother of two of the terrorists that attacked Paris Friday night. They hail from Molenbeek, an impoverished immigrant district in Brussels known to be a jihadi hotbed. One of Mohamed's brothers, Ibrahim, blew himself up outside of the cafe Comptoir Voltaire near the Bataclan concert hall. The other, Salah, is now on the run after making it back across the Belgian border and is currently one of the world's most wanted terrorists. Mohamed was held and questioned by French police, but later released after it was determined he played no role in the attacks.
However, a bit of interesting information was released about the man. An ex-mayor of Molenbeek said up until the time Mohamed was arrested, he worked for the district's immigration department. In light of the current mass refugee influx in Europe suspected to be ushering in scores of ISIS militants, this is a most remarkable detail.
But Mohamed maintains that he had nothing to do with the attacks and has no idea where his brother may be hiding. Upon his release, he told the media in Belgium:
As far as my brother [Salah] is concerned, we don't know where he is right now. He grew up here, studied here, he is a totally normal lad. None of us knew anything. Not us, not our family. They are big boys, they are grown-ups. You don't ask them what they're doing every time they leave the house.
We are very shocked about what has happened. We learned about it the same way you did. And we can't believe for a moment that either of my brothers is linked to these attacks. We think of course about the victims, about their families. But you have to understand that we also have a mother, we have a family, and that these remain, despite everything, her children.
The mother said Ibrahim, the one in the suicide vest, may have been "stressed" and believes that the detonation was accidental. Mohamed added that he had an alibi for November, 13, and that's why he was allowed to walk free.