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Belgium’s Hans Bonte has been invited to Washington

He is attending the Global Security Summit in Washington at the request of the US authorities.

American intelligence services are interested in how his city is handling the problem of jihadism and radicalisation of youngsters.

The Global Security Summit kicks off in Washington tomorrow. It is aimed at preventing violent extremism across the globe. Hans Bonte received a request from the US to join the meeting at the White House to share his expertise.

A debate will be held between several major American cities about security issues, among other things. “I was asked to share my experience here in Belgium”, Bonte told the VRT.

On Wednesday, he will give a presentation at an international forum and join a big debate.

“Community engagement”

The invitation came after an earlier exchange of expertise between the US and Vilvoorde.

Six months ago, an American delegation of researchers, analysts and police officers spent a whole week in Vilvoorde to see how the city just north of Brussels is tackling radicalisation.

In return, Hans Bonte was also part of a delegation that travelled to the White House and also to Columbus, Ohio, a city that is battling the same problems as Vilvoorde.

Bonte told the VRT that the US is “very eager to find out about our social network that is much closer, out better form of community engagement.”

The US is also trying to reach the most vulnerable group through a network of different organisations “in order to counter the small minority that that tries to recruit people and steal them from our urban districts.”

“A community engagement can keep everyone on the alert for extremism and possible recruiting of jihadist fighters. At the same time, we should work out ways to bring the most vulnerable back on the right track.” 


Flandersnews.be / Expatica