Belgium, a small European country, has the highest number per capita of citizens fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Many of these more than 500 Belgian ISIS members have returned to Belgium. They were neither detained nor placed under surveillance. In other words, they simply resumed their lives in absolute freedom as if nothing happened.
I love the Belgians (as well as other Europeans) but what they are doing is suicidal. Why the heck would you let back in a citizen you know has fought for a terrorist organization without interrogating, prosecuting, or surveilling him?
Where are the laws to criminalize such overseas terroristic adventure? I don’t get it. It’s not as though these guys have renounced their ISIS ideology of anti-Western angst. And now we are learning that one of the Brussels attackers had been arrested by Turkey on the border with Syria after fighting for ISIS and had been deported to the Netherlands. The Turkish authorities had informed both the Belgian and Netherlands authorities of this man’s terrorist itinerary and his ISIS affiliation. The Belgian authorities inexplicably released him because “they found no terrorist link.” This is the same guy who has now committed mass murder.
The French are guilty of playing the same suicidal game. Until recently, these European countries had their heads in the sand, believing, it seems to me, that as long as these citizens are fighting for terrorist groups or committing acts of terror abroad in the Middle East, that is not their problem. They also seemed to have believed that these guys would return to their countries in Europe and become loyal, law abiding citizens to enjoy the perks of modern European life. How utterly, tragically mistaken and naive! If you are harboring people who have committed atrocities elsewhere and do not curtail their freedoms why would they not commit the same acts in Europe, a place whose peoples and cultures they’ve been radicalized to hate?