Since it’s been a while since you watched your classmates’ Belgium presentations, a reminder: the country is linguistically split between the Flemish-speaking north, Flanders, and the French-speaking south, Wallonia (the inhabitants are called Walloons). In each part, vast majorities speak the same native language. The exception is Brussels, the capital as well as the seat of the European Union, which is in Flanders but has about a 60% French-speaking population. More Belgians speak Flemish (Dutch) as their first language, but a majority of the Flemish speakers also speak French, while very few of the French speakers also speak Flemish. The country has been characterized as on the verge of collapse several times in my lifetime, due to this linguistic and cultural split.

Islam in Belgium is the second largest religion after Christianity, but only 4-7% of Belgiums are Muslim.  They are primarily immigrants or 2nd-4th generation Belgians with Moroccan, Turkish, or other origins.  One of your classmates’ presentations used as their current event a recent debate about hijab, and we will return to that whole issue soon.


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The materials below range from 2003 to 2020.  American interest in Belgian Muslims peaked shortly after the Paris bombings in 2016, because it turned out that there were links with extremists in Belgium; this was also the period when some European Muslims were traveling to fight in Syria for ISIS.

(1) There are several good articles about the history of Muslim immigration to Belgium. The Migration Policy Institute (a US think tank) has published profiles in 2003 and 2012. The 2012 (newer) one (Links to an external site.) has more complete and more recent information, but I think the 2003 report (Links to an external site.) is somewhat easier to read and contains more details about the origins of Muslim immigration, so my questions are based on that one.  Therefore, please read the 2003 report (Links to an external site.) and answer questions a-e, each in 3-5 sentences. (10 pts)
(a) Briefly describe the immigration situation and policy in the early and late 1960s.
(b) Starting in 1968, what were some of the differences between a European immigrant to Belgium and a non-European immigrant?
(c) How and why did Belgium encourage family reunification?
(d) By 2000, what did the foreign population in Belgium look like, and what notable differences are there between various parts of the country?
(e) What did the Nationality Code of 1984 (finally passed in 2000) mean for the grandchildren of immigrants and for aliens legally resident in Belgium (i.e., similar to Green Card holders in the US)?

Next, read these two articles, written in 2016 after the Paris bombings, and summarize in a short paragraph each.  If you cannot read them through the first link, they are available through the library databases (search by title) but those give you the text only without pictures or graphs, so try to use the direct links.  (Try copying the link into a different browser if you have hit your “free article” limit.)

(2) “How two Brussels neighborhoods became a “breeding ground” for terror (Links to an external site.)” (Washington Post, April 1, 2016) or complete link= (3 pts)

(3) “How Belgian prisons became a breeding ground for Islamic extremism (Links to an external site.)” (Washington Post, March 27, 2016) or complete link = (Links to an external site.) (3 pts)

Then read this recent article for how things have changed since then, and also write a short paragraph summarizing it.

(4) “Appeal of Isis Fades Among Europeans Who Returned Home from Syria” (Links to an external site.) (Washington Post, June 14, 2020) or library link  (Links to an external site.) or complete link= (Links to an external site.) (3 pts) 

[So in all, you will have 5 short answers for #1, and then 3 short summary paragraphs, one each for articles 2-4.]

PS Should you happen to Google for more information on Muslims in Quebec or Belgium, please be advised that the “letter from a mayor” of a city in those places is an anti-Muslim myth (Links to an external site.).

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