Expatica news

Antwerp’s diamond traders fear terror attacks

8 April 2004

BRUSSELS – Businesses in Antwerp’s famous diamond traders’ district fear they could soon be targeted by an Islamic fundamentalist terror attack, the Belgian press reported on Thursday.

The majority of Antwerp’s diamond traders are Jewish. They say have been particularly concerned since the Arab European League (AEL) warned they could be considered a terrorist target.

“Ever since the AEL made its statements, we have obviously been asking ourselves questions,” diamond industry spokesman Peter Meeus told La Libre Belgique.

“The quarter was already targeted in 1981, when terrorists attacked a Portuguese synagogue,” he added.

Meeus wants the Belgian government to step up even further the already tight security measures in place in the diamond sellers quarter, which is near to Antwerp’s main station.

The AEL insisted that it was not trying to threaten Antwerp’s diamond traders but warn them.

“We want to warn Antwerp’s Jewish community in its entirety to be on its guard. The community’s support for Israel is no secret,” Ahmed Azzuz, head of the AEL in Belgium told La Libre Belgique.

“It could therefore be targeted because of its support for Zionism, in the same way that innocent people in Spain paid for their leaders’ pro-American policies during the war in Iraq.

“We are not anti-Semitic. It is recent events that have led us to sound the alarm bell,” he added.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news