Molenbeek

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Syria Displaced

A Cop on the Molenbeek Beat

BRUSSELS, Belgium—Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving perpetrator of the Paris attacks in November, and his brother Ibrahim, one of the suicide bombers that day, were no strangers to law enforcement. Long before November 13, 2015, the brothers had had dealings with the police force in their home neighborhood of Molenbeek, as had a number of the others involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks.

Syria Displaced

In Big, Bad “Molenbeekistan”

BRUSSELS, Belgium—As the escalator rises out of the Molenbeek subway station, the first sounds you hear are children laughing and calling out to one another. With entrances to the metro at either end of a row of townhouses, you are left with the unlikely impression of a village square. Here young children ride bicycles and teach each other to balance on hover boards. Older men play cricket, some in button-down shirts, some wearing South Asian salwar kameez. A younger boy practices bowling (that’s “pitching” in cricket) as he watches them.

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