Homofile i Brussel og Anterwerpen merker stadig oftere at de ikke har noen plass i det nye Belgia: overfall på åpen gate, brev i dørsprekken, døde rotter – det lar seg ikke misforstå.
Politiet står maktesløse fordi truslene kommer fra et helt miljø, og angriperne forsvinner i gruppen som beskytter dem.
On Sunday night, June 12th, a gay guy was attacked by North African youth in Brussels. The youth beat him and tried to choke him. According to Bruno De Lille (Greens), Secretary of State for equal opportunities in the Brussels Region, most homophobic attackers come from the Muslim community, and that those acts are not linked to religion, but rather to a macho culture. He said there are also East-European homophobic attackers, and that those who express sentiments against women, often do the same towards gays.
According to Carim Bouzian, a gay immigrant from Antwerp, the situation in Antwerp is not much better than Brussels. Gays are reprimanded by the Islamic ‘morality police’, a group of older men and radical youth who feel they must warn gays about their ‘erroneous behavior’.
It starts off with various curses and ‘Don’t you know what the Koran says? You’re going to hell!’, and if you don’t answer right, you risk being punched.
Bouzian says that there’s no place in the city which is safe from this morality police. Gay couples who live in immigrant neighborhoods regularly get in their mail an envelope bearing verses from the Koran and containing a dead rat. But they also patrol the more upscale neighborhoods. A friend of his was attacked in broad daylight in the hip neighborhood of Antwerp South.
Gays are not their only targets. Fons Bastiaenssens of the Antwerp police says that young immigrant girls with a short skirt are also cursed, mostly by older, radical Muslim men. The phenomenon is very diverse in time and place, which makes it harder for the police to act against it. They rarely get official complaints about the morality police.
It’s unclear how many gays are threatened in Antwerp. About a year ago the gay community warned of the situation in the Middenvijver park, where gays came for paid sex with immigrant youth. That was too much for the morality police, and a group of immigrant youth attacked gays there.