Young men in the neighbourhood of Molenbeek in Brussels reportedly received text messages on Sunday night that urged them to attack westerners. Authorities fear that this might be an effort by the Islamic State to ignite community tensions in the aftermath of the Brussels bombings that killed 35.
The texts were received after a video, which has now been removed, was circulated on Facebook showed local youths apparently celebrating the deadly attacks in Brussels last week. The prepaid number from which the texts were sent could not be traced, authorities said.
“My brother, why not fight the westerners? Make the right choice in your life,” read the short text message in French as quoted by the Guardian.
The text messages have raised fears that the text messages are aimed at recruiting more disaffected youths following the bombings at the Brussels airport. According to local activists, the IS operatives possibly download contacts from the phones of the new recruits, which allow them to prepare a list of potential recruits.
“These people are trying to take our youth by storm,” said Jamal Ikazban, the local Socialist party MP. “It is like having a big-time drug dealer outside the school gates. We feel the same. They have to be taken off the streets. They are predators and our youths are the victims.”
Similar Facebook messages and emails were also sent to Muslim youths around Brussels. However, many of those who received such emails did not wish to be identified.
Belgium has been facing denunciation since the Brussels bombings for its failure to ensure adequate security for its citizens. Some of its politicians and activists have argued that the nation is underprepared to tackle such terror attacks on civilian targets.