There is a reason why Israel razes the homes of terrorists. It is because Israelis know that a terrorist cannot plot and carry out an attack without the knowledge and help of his or her immediate relatives, and further, the entire community. Punitive home demolition is meant to serve as a deterrent, the idea being that a would-be terrorist's family will fear losing their home and thus persuade him or her against the attack.
In fact, knowing that it "takes a village" to aid and abet a terrorist is precisely why the terrorists responsible for the Paris and recent Brussels bombings could operate "right under the noses" of their victims. And it is why some are calling for heightened scrutiny of Muslim communities across the West, and right here in the U.S., despite cries of Islamophobia.
The MailOnline reports that police in Molenbeek -- a district known for spawning jihadis like the France and Brussels attackers -- have pleaded with local Muslims for help in finding the terror suspects only to have their pleas rebuffed:
The seeds of the terror blasts that shook Europe were planted by a brotherhood of childhood friends who grew up just a few doors away from each other in a part of Brussels dubbed the ‘crucible of terror’.
Police following the trail of the terrorist murderers behind the atrocities in France and Belgium have repeatedly arrived at a single block of housing in Molenbeek, a district of Brussels known as a hotbed of jihadism.
The centre of the deadly network is the Abdeslam family home, a first floor apartment on Gemeenteplaats, behind the local police station – and just round the corner from the home of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the brains behind the Paris attacks. Abaaoud, the linchpin of the terror cell, was killed in a furious shootout with police in Saint-Denis, Paris, in the aftermath of the November massacres. He has emerged as the group’s ringleader, along with Salah Abdeslam.
Brothers Salah and Brahim Abdeslam were involved in the carnage in Paris, in which Brahim, 31, was killed in a suicide attack on the Comptoir Voltaire restaurant. It is understood that Salah, 26, went on the run without detonating his suicide vest.
Salah, who is accused of making the bombs used in the attacks, was arrested last week round the corner from the family home in a frantic police raid after four months on the run. He is also thought to have been involved in the Brussels attacks with a ‘new network’ of fanatics.
Just a few doors down from the Abdeslam and Abaaoud apartments is the family home of Mohamed Abrini, 30, who drove the Abdeslam brothers to Paris to carry out the attacks and is accused of being involved with the Brussels plot. He remains at large, and police are desperately trying to track him down.
Abrini is a childhood friend of Salah Abdeslam, and it is thought that the two became radicalised together. Moreover, Abrini’s younger brother Souleymane, 20, died in 2014 in Syria while fighting in the same ISIS military unit as Abaaoud, [sic] [...] The tight-knit network doesn’t end there. A short distance from the Abdeslam and Abrini residences is the home of Ayoub El Khazzani, the terrorist who launched the botched gun and bomb attack on the Amsterdam-to-Paris express train in August last year.
The above passage is just meant to provide insight into how entrenched these terror networks have been and how interconnected members of the community truly are.
Police meanwhile are running into a brick wall because Muslims in the towns of Molenbeek, and also nearby Schaerbeek, where the bomb factory used by the el Bakraoui brothers is located, simply refuse to help.
During a recent raid near the Ahl Allah mosque following the Brussels attack, police were met not with cooperation, but rather, hostility. They were verbally assaulted and taunted by throngs of angry young Muslim men.
"There is no terrorist on this street. The police are making it up to make Muslims look bad," said 27-year-old Mohammed.
"It is a set-up." The Mail continues:
The local community there views police with contempt, they added, and are unlikely to report terrorists to the authorities even if they do not have jihadi sympathies themselves.
‘Frankly I wasn’t surprised,’ a policewoman who wished to remain anonymous told MailOnline. ‘Nobody takes what happens in this district seriously. Every day we arrest well-known criminals and the next day they are back on the streets.
‘It is frustrating that we are doing our work but the justice system doesn’t back us up.
‘These people are not being prosecuted or fined, they are just being released. We arrest them and nothing happens to them.
‘One or two hours later they smile and mock us, believing they are on the winning side.’
The ‘lack of respect for police and for Belgium’ in the local multicultural community meant that the terror cell could operate without fear of being reported, she added.
This made Schaerbeek – which has been ‘off the radar’ for terror police – the ideal place for a deadly jihadi to hide out.
‘We have been asking for the higher authorities to take this district more seriously but it hasn’t happened,’ she said.
Her commanding officer, who also did not want to be named, agreed. ‘We have not been blind to the fact that something serious has been going on here,’ he said.
‘We have several people under surveillance but there are others that are unknown and blending in with the wall.
‘They are deeply embedded in the local community. They know each other and have family here, but nobody says anything.
According to Mohammed Abdeslam, one of the suspect's brothers, speaking to reporters or authorities will get a community member into "very big trouble."
"I can't tell you if my brother was supposed to be involved in today's attack because if I told you I knew, I'd be in very big trouble right now," the man told The Mail before speeding off in his BMW.
And that, folks, is why the myth of the "small minority" is just that, a myth. Terrorism and radicalism goes far beyond just the person willing to the pull the ripcord him- or herself; it goes also to those who aid and abet those who pull the trigger. It extends even to those who simply turn a blind eye and refuse to help authorities stop the carnage when they've valuable information that can save lives. There are few innocents here in these Muslim enclaves, despite what the apologists will tell you. How our respective leaders chose to deal with that truth will make the difference in thwarting or not thwarting future attacks.
(Photo credit: MailOnline)