Islamic murder in the heart of Europe. Thoausands of fans locked in the stadium, increased controls at airports, and protection of... IKEA stores.

On October 16, a quarter past 7 PM in Brussels, a scooter gunman shouting “Allah Akbar!” opened fire with an automatic weapon, killing two Swedes. Such an attack is, unfortunately, a macabre routine in Europe, but the perpetrator’s curriculum vitae is material for either a political thriller on Netflix or an academic study at a university about the crisis of Western European states.

On a grim October Monday at the King Baudouin Stadium in the Laeken district of Brussels, the football teams of Belgium and Sweden were set to clash in the qualifiers for the European Football Championship in 2024. Dressed in national colours, two fervent blue-and-yellow supporters, 60-year-old Patrick Lundström and his decade-older friend Kent Persson, got into a taxi to head to the match. They didn’t notice that, right from the start, a bearded man in a fluorescent orange jacket was following them on a scooter. Suddenly, the attacker opened fire with an automatic weapon, and when they tried to take shelter in one of the buildings, he pursued and shot them, shouting the phrase mentioned in the lead, “Allah akbar!”

In the era of omnipresent smartphones, videos that almost instantly appeared on social media show the assailant first calmly unpacking and assembling a gun on the sidewalk of the Ypres Boulevard, by the edge of the Brussels Canal, then cold-bloodedly executing the two fans, and afterwards calmly riding away on the scooter without any signs of panic or even agitation, still dressed in the reflective orange jacket.

What’s even more incredible, the attacker simply returned home to his apartment in the immigrant district of Schaerbeek, as if coming back from work. No worries about being arrested? In the meantime, he managed to post a routine video on social media in which he swears allegiance to the Islamic State, gives his “war” pseudonym Abdelsalem Al Jilani, and explains in Arabic with a Tunisian accent that he shot the Swedish fans to “avenge Muslims.” Amaq, the news agency of the Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the attack the next day, on the evening of October 17th.

However, that’s not the end of the astonishing twists. Exactly under the terrorist’s house, two plainclothes policemen from the special BTA unit were on duty at the time and recognized the suspect. His wife didn’t let him into the house and slept at the police station with their daughter, while the murderer simply walked around the nearby park! The policemen requested permission to intervene, but the police directorate ordered them instead to just observe the suspect, whom they quickly lost sight of. The police chief later explained that it was about the safety of the officers, insufficiently armed and without any evacuation plan from the immigrant district in case of the attacker’s arrest.

During this time, panic erupted in Brussels: residents of the Belgian metropolis received text messages from the police about a terrorist threat, the Belgium-Sweden match was interrupted after the first half, and 35,000 fans were locked in the stadium for several hours for their own safety. Controls were intensified at train stations and airports, and security was increased... even at IKEA stores.

The next morning, the attacker refused to perform fajr, the prayer before sunrise and the first of the five daily prayers of a devout Muslim, at a local mosque. He then went to the Moroccan café Al Khaima on Van Oost street in Schaerbeek for an Arabic mint tea. Recognized by a passerby (“he’s just sitting and eating breakfast as if nothing happened!”), he was quickly surrounded by the special police unit UAS, shot in the chest during the attempt to apprehend him, and transported by ambulance to Saint-Luc hospital. At 9:38 AM, a little over half a day after the attack, his death was confirmed. In the café, a bag with clothes and the weapon used to kill the Swedes was found.

Meanwhile, new information about the perpetrator began to leak. He was present – under the pseudonym Slayem Slouma – on various social media, where he posted typical Islamist content, but it soon turned out that his real name was Abdesalem Lassoued, he was 45 years old, from Tunisia, and was staying in Belgium illegally.

In the age of global media and widespread bureaucracy, journalists had no problem reconstructing the Tunisian’s adventures. From the information they gathered, an unbelievable scenario emerges, where Islamism and gangsterism mix, open borders and migration tourism, and finally European indulgence and the death of Europeans. You’re in for a ride.

Usually, stories about Islamic terrorists in Western European media start with tearful tales of polite boys who always said “Good morning” and carried groceries for their neighbours until bad society, discrimination, and systemic racism pushed them into the arms of fanatics. But this time, the story begins quite differently.

Belgian journalists reached out to the Tunisian’s parents, who painted a rather bleak portrait of their offspring: “He wasn’t very good at school. He dropped out and started working in marketplaces. He got angry for any little reason. Sometimes he hit people.” The only consolation was that from a young age he was a devout Muslim ready for jihad. As a child, he even asked his father if he would be proud of him if he died as a martyr for his faith.

The parents, interrogated by Tunisian services, were neither surprised nor shocked by their son’s act. After all, he had only killed infidels, and he was “very shocked by the burning of the Quran in Sweden.” We will return to Sweden shortly.

He was a drifter – he didn’t spend much time in school; instead, Abdesalem Lassoued chose a criminal career. He started with petty theft but ended up with attempted murder, for which he was sentenced to 26 years and 8 months of imprisonment. However, he served only ten years of his sentence, as he escaped from prison during the Arab Spring – a spectacular street anti-government revolt.

Like many other Tunisians in 2011, he boarded a dinghy to land on the Italian island of Lampedusa, which by then was already a gateway to Italy and Europe for thousands of irregular migrants. His hometown of Sfax, situated opposite the island, remains to this day a stronghold and a launch base for smuggling mafias.

He first officially appeared in Europe in January 2011, when he was registered in Porto Empedocle, Sicily, as an illegal immigrant. However, he was not sent back to Tunisia, but was transferred to an asylum centre in Turin, where he was issued a residence permit “on humanitarian grounds.”

With the valuable document in his pocket, he left Italy and in the years 2011-2012 spent several months with a cousin in Oslo, where he applied for asylum in June 2011, and in November, after being denied, was deported back to Italy. Thanks to police control, we know that he stayed in places like Terni, Umbria. In May 2012, he finally moved to Sweden, where he was to settle for several years.
Islamic celebration of Eid-Al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) at the Palais show hall in Brussels, June 28, 2023. Photo: HATIM KAGHAT / Belga Press / Forum
When the first rumours of his possible connections with that state emerged after the attack in Brussels, the Swedish Migration Agency was initially unable to find any information in the records. However, after a detailed investigation, it was determined that the man indeed stayed in Sweden from 2012 to 2014.

Abdesalem Lassoued made himself known soon after arriving. In September 2012, he was arrested by the Swedish police in Malmö with 100 grams of cocaine. Further searches of his apartment revealed more drugs and a large sum of money, leading to his sentence of two years and two months in prison. While incarcerated, he requested to be placed in a prison near Norway, citing relatives in the area. He also expressed a desire to learn English and a profession.

  However, the prison service deemed him dangerous. Just three days after arriving at the prison, he threatened a guard, saying he would stab him with a knife. He later explained that this was just an “Arabic saying.” He was placed in a level 1 security institution, where murderers and those serving life sentences are held.

During his time in prison, Lassoued exhibited behaviour that further highlighted his complicated profile. He instructed guards to wait until he had finished his prayers, repeatedly refused to work claiming he couldn’t eat or work due to Ramadan, and refused to provide a urine sample, stating that his religion didn’t allow him to undress in front of other men. He received at least three warnings and was placed in solitary confinement multiple times due to various issues, threats, and fights.

The Swedish Prison and Probation Service reported that he was permitted to have a phone in prison and was visited by a woman initially described as his partner, later identified as his wife, who lived partly in Tunisia and partly in France.

While incarcerated, Lassoued applied for asylum in Sweden. He told his probation officer that if he didn’t receive it, he would have “nowhere to go.” However, his application was denied. The Swedish state took care of his next steps: in March 2014, Abdesalem Lassoued was conditionally released and deported from Sweden.

“He never had a residence permit in Sweden, and after serving his sentence here, he was deported to another European Union country in accordance with the Dublin Protocol,” informs Jesper Tengroth, the press spokesman for the Swedish Migration Agency. The Dublin Regulation assumes that an asylum seeker should return to the first country where they applied for asylum – in this case, Italy.

On a side note – an amusing coincidence: during this period, the centre-right Prime Minister of Sweden was Fredrik Reinfeldt, known for his pro-immigration policy encapsulated by the slogan “Open your hearts.” His government introduced, among other things, free healthcare and dental care for illegal immigrants. This was part of the agreement made with the far-left Green Party, known as the Migration Pact, which Reinfeldt himself described as a “punishment for Swedes” for massively voting for the conservative-nationalist Swedish Democrats. And on October 16, 2023, the same Fredrik Reinfeldt, now as the President of the Swedish Football Association, was at a match in Brussels. When his compatriots were shot down by the terrorist, the former Prime Minister was evacuated by the Belgian police to a safe place. The remaining Swedish fans were held at the stadium until late at night.

2016 was a period of peak terrorist threat in Italy. The Tunisian security services, cooperating with the Italians, identified Lassoued as a “dangerous and radicalised element,” and the Italian police even created a profile of a potential jihadist. The man was also monitored by Italian intelligence and the anti-terrorism service Digos. They determined that the Tunisian wanted to “join the Islamic State and acquire firearms to commit unpredictable acts against Christians and Jews.” As he himself claimed, he was in contact with Abdeslam Saleh, the co-organizer of the attacks on Bataclan in Paris in 2015 and in Brussels in 2016. By then, he was already travelling to Belgium.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Bologna initiated preliminary proceedings against him, which allowed, among other things, the wiretapping of both Tunisians and confirmed that they were regularly contacting numbers abroad. However, the proceedings did not yield any results and were suspended.

On May 26, 2016, Lassoued filed another application for international protection. Quite quickly, in June, his asylum request was rejected, and the future terrorist was sent to a centre in Caltanissetta for individuals awaiting deportation. Of course, like most illegal immigrants who have been denied asylum, he filed an appeal, cleverly exploiting European asylum law.

It paid off! The court in Bologna suspended the deportation decision and set the date for the next hearing in 2017, which allowed him to leave the centre with a three-month residence permit in his pocket. By the time the appeal is rejected, he will already be abroad, in another European country – this time in Belgium, where he had already been before.

The Tunisian’s choice was rational from his point of view. Firstly, he already had contacts in the Islamist circles established even before arriving in Bologna. Secondly, the suburbs of Brussels are undoubtedly one of the most Muslim-friendly places in Europe, alongside Britain’s Birmingham or the German metropolises in the Ruhr region, where a truly devout follower of the Prophet can live in accordance with the principles of his religion without bothering about the civilizational norms of Christian society or anti-religious secularism. Thirdly, Belgium is widely known for its liberal approach to migration and asylum issues, which would allow him to file another application with a chance of circumventing European Union procedures.

Despite being denied asylum in Norway, Sweden, and twice in Italy, Abdesalem Lassoued filed another asylum application in Brussels in December 2019. He presented a Tunisian marriage certificate to a Belgian citizen, but the document was not recognized by the office. Almost a year later, in October 2020, his request was rejected, and the Foreigners’ Office issued him an order to leave the country by March 4, 2021. The document was sent by registered mail to the address provided, but the addressee did not pick it up. The police were as ineffective as the postman: they couldn’t find him even though he lived with his wife, and his daughter regularly attended school. Did anyone actually look for him? One might doubt it.

The threat of deportation was not as tragic as it might seem. The Tunisian simply continued to live a normal life. He regularly appeared on police radars, like in 2021 in Genoa, and he was often in Turin, as evidenced by the photos on his Facebook.

Despite the court order to leave the territory of Belgium, Abdesalem Lassoued found refuge in the Islamized Brussels district of Schaerbeek, around Eugène Verboekhoven Square, the so-called bear cage, a jihadist stronghold, one of those no-go zones that supposedly don’t exist in the West. Despite lacking documents and official registration, he led a relatively normal life with his wife, who wore a hijab and worked as a hairdresser. His stepdaughter attended a Belgian school, and he himself frequented the local mosque – from which, at some point, he was expelled due to “too radical comments.” And one day, he packed a gun into a bag and rode a scooter to hunt for Swedish fans.

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Now it turns out that already on August 15, 2022, the Tunisian Interpol requested Belgium to extradite Abdesalem Lassoued as an escapee from prison. As we recall, in 2011, this criminal sentenced to 27 years escaped from prison and emigrated to Europe. Two weeks later, the relevant Belgian office transferred the case to the prosecutor’s office, which then shelved it. Some politicians claim this was an oversight or a human error, others argue that it was a deliberate practice because in Belgium, escaping from prison is not considered a serious crime, and still others believe that it shows systemic leniency of the judicial caste, always looking for the slightest pretext to side with the illegal immigrant.

In the end, the Belgian Minister of the Interior, Vincent Van Quickenborne, resigned, acknowledging this “oversight” as a failure. But if the deportation mechanisms had worked more efficiently, two Swedish fans would still be alive.

The incredible saga of Abdesalem Lassoued encapsulates the main problems facing contemporary Europe: the crisis and weakness of the European construct, irregular migration as a source of problems for societies, and finally, a distorted ideology of human rights that ties the hands.

It turns out that this so-called European superstate, whose capital was symbolically struck during a sports event uniting two European nations, does not function in everyday life. The Union, whose ambition is to create increasingly centralised structures, has shown that even traditional methods of fighting crime do not work under its conditions. Federalist proposals for joint security structures sound somewhat humorously exaggerated when even traditional services cannot cooperate and do not share information. Belgium had grievances against Sweden for not passing on information about Abdesalem Lassoued, which it possessed. Italy received information from Tunisia, and even passed it on to their partners from the Belgian services, but they were unable to utilise it.

Furthermore, it turns out that the European institutions, developed over decades, all these modern solutions of the era of peace and prosperity, which were intended to make our lives more pleasant and easier, such as the freedom to travel (Schengen), are cynically exploited every day by criminals, offenders, and enemies. Few Poles have travelled to as many European countries as the Tunisian globetrotter.

Similarly derailed are the noble humanitarian institutions, for example political asylum. The moral imperative to protect the unfortunate victims of unprovoked disasters, such as wars or earthquakes, stemming from Christian mercy and the commandment to love thy neighbour, or from secular altruism and empathy, has been distorted. It has become a ticket to prosperity for the bold, the cunning, and the impostors from the Third World and has turned into one big system of parasitism on the wealth toiled for by our ancestors.

The takeover of European institutions, especially the judiciary, by the left and its ideology of false humanitarianism, has led to justice being replaced by leniency. Human rights, in their interpretation expanded to the point of absurdity, have become a psychological gag and moral shackles, effectively preventing any attempts at reaction and self-defence by societies and elites.

The EU’s policy towards illegal mass immigration is not working, although the means and legal basis for it exist. As a result, Europe is being flooded with millions of newcomers from the Third World, among whom there are thousands of potential attackers like Abdesalem Lassoued. They have struck in nearly every country of our continent over the past few decades. We do not know the day or the hour when another one of them will strike.

– Adam Gwiazda

TVP WEEKLY. Editorial team and jornalists

– Translated by jz
Main photo: Two Swedish fans were murdered in Brussels by an Islamic terrorist. Photo: BENOIT DOPPAGNE / Belga Press / Forum
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