Out of the ashes of Brussels comes first sorrow. Then; anger.
- Right-wing extremist groups grow in Belgium after Brussels bombings
- Belgian White Power group says membership has ‘rocketed’ this week
- Support for anti-Islam party Vlaams Belang surge on social networks
Belgium has turned on immigrants in the wake of the Brussels terror attack as far-right skinhead groups are experiencing a surge in popularity, promising ‘drastic action’ in the aftermath of the atrocities.
Voorpost, a Belgian White Power organisation that is being closely monitored by security services, says its membership has rocketed following the carnage.
‘A huge number of people have started supporting us online. We have had more than double the number of new members in the last three days,’ Bart Vanpachtenbeke, the leader of the organisation, told MailOnline.
‘There is anger in Brussels now. I think there are dark times coming. We can’t give any information, but we are planning a lot of new protests. There is a lot of drastic action, a lot of noise coming.’
Security services believe there is a real risk of violence coming from the nationalist gang.
‘Intelligence agencies are concerned about Voorpost’s capacity for violent action,’ said Vidhya Ramalingham, fellow at the German Institute on Radicalisation and De-radicalisation Studies.
‘They are carefully monitoring members of the organisation. The numbers are far smaller than in radical Islam, but there is a serious threat.’
Other populist organisations have also reported a dramatic spike in support after the attacks. Tom Van Grieken, leader of the anti-Islam Vlaams Belang party – Belgian equivalent of France’s Front National – told MailOnline that his party’s Facebook page gained 10,000 new likes overnight.
Some of his online posts warning of the dangers of radical Islam, he added, have been shared more than four million times.
‘For a small country, that is massive,’ he said. ‘Our support has increased by 25 per cent. People are realising that everything we have been saying was right.
‘Our government are world champions of looking away and pretending there isn’t a problem. They are cowards, and people are fed up with it.’
The official Vlaams Belang Facebook page displays many inflammatory comments from supporters, some of whom refer to Muslims as ‘monkeys’.
‘I really hope you win the next elections and send back every Muslim,’ says one. ‘It will never work to live together with that scum.’
Others wrote, ‘the government won’t do anything, you need a new Adolf for that. He would solve it in a couple of months’, and ‘sadly the Hitler Youth doesn’t exist any more.’
Mr Van Grieken believes that the attacks were ‘symptoms’ of a deeper malaise.
‘We are the only party that highlights the dangers of radical Islam and the existence of parallel societies in our main cities,’ he said. ‘People are furious with the elites in this country.’
Belgium has so far not experienced the same unrest between local people and migrants that has been seen in Germany, Finland and elsewhere in Europe.
But frustration is mounting, and it is directed at the ruling classes as well as the Muslim community.