Flemish Interest faces new racism battle
27 June 2005
BRUSSELS — The far-right Flemish Interest party has sparked controversy by accusing police of deliberately concealing immigrant youths were responsible for the vandalism of graves at Sint-Niklaas over the Easter weekend.
In a party magazine, the Flemish Interest claimed police deliberately decided against revealing to the public that immigrant youths carried out the cemetery vandalism.
It said the incident was proof the Muslim community did not respect Flemish culture, values and beliefs.
However, Sint-Niklaas Mayor Freddy Willockx has dismissed the allegations as lies, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported on Monday.
Both Willockx and the local police chief were enraged by the claims, pointing out that the vandals were native Flemish youths.
“The assertions by the Flemish Interest are lies,” Willockx said.
He called on Flemish Interest city councilor Frans Wymeersch to apologise to the Islamic community. In the lack of an apology, the mayor lodged an official complaint with the anti-racism bureau CGKR.
The CGKR had earlier warned the Flemish Interest it will face renewed prosecution for racism if it continues to make such allegations.
CGKR director Jozef de Witte said the anti-racism centre is compiling evidence against the right-wing party again.
“I would prefer not to start a second lawsuit, but if they continue, I cannot do otherwise. The Flemish Block was convicted because of clear and repeated ‘scapegoating’,” De Witte said.
“It changed its name [to Flemish Interest] while no one asked it to. But it must change its practices and stop the hate campaign and this is what it doesn’t do. The Flemish Interest must realise that it cannot go unpunished just because it was previously convicted.”
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news