Belgium: Threat or joke?

Belgian broadcasters VRT and TRM, as well as independent news site Indymedia, received a DVD terrorist threat. More on the DVD here.

Belgian authorities have decided in the meantime not to change the threat level, which is currently at its lowest.

What can we learn from the DVD? Here's my pop-analysis:

1. The text uses Flemish regional slang which means the creators probably live in Belgium.

2. The only words in Arabic are those which appear at the beginning and end of the clip. They are written in the Roman alphabet, which shows that the creators know it from spoken language, but can't necessarily write them. However, the Dutch text is clear and concise, which shows the creators are not thinking in Arabic.

3. The film is subtitled and not spoken, my guess is that this is so as not to give any clue to the accent or age of the speaker. It is not improbable that the video itself was taken off a Jihadi website and is not that of the creators themselves.

4. The film does not mention the Koran or quote from it and therefore I would guess the creators don't know enough about it, or don't care enough to base their terrorist threats on it. Yet, I think the phrase 'caravan of victory' points to knowledge of Islam.

5. The text itself seems threatening to me. It does not look like something written by bored kids. It mentions all the basic points, seeing the people as an accomplice to the government and responsible for its actions, mentioning Western decadence, yet not going overboard with it. It is clear and to the point. As far as I can see, it is very similar to other threatening videos, but does not contain the same imagery. In other words, it was written by somebody who thought of the essence and not of the additional Arabic sounding themes.

Is there a real threat here? Even if the DVD is 'real', it does not necessarily follow that whoever prepared it can make true on their threats.

I suppose we'll know soon enough whether it was a joke or not. I'm guessing it's not a joke, but that the creators aren't 'real' Jihadis. What do you think?


Ferdy said...

"It does not look like something written by bored kids."

Come on Esther! You know that there are many Muslims in Europe who think these are legitimate demands. This is the jihad and jihad does not come from boredom but devotion. These kids just follow up on the pious Islamic principle to sow fear in the minds of the unbeliever. Lucky for us, most don’t have the guts to follow-up on it.

Esther said...


Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's exactly what I'm saying. I don't think it's a joke in the sense that it wasn't meant for people to just laugh. But at the same time, I don't think it was prepared by 'real' Jihadis, in the sense that I don't think whoever prepared it can actually follow through on the threats. Though I do think they'll try.

Anonymous said...

when I read this on DS "De dvd's kwamen naar verluidt al vorige donderdag bij de VRT, VTM en Indymedia aan, maar werden pas vandaag ontdekt." It says that also Indymedia received it and did not notice it among the millions of snail mail they receive every day, then the source is easy to locate: in their environment of extreme left linked to extreme islamist in Flanders.

Ferdy said...


I misunderstood you’re “bored kids” part and jumped directly to the conclusion that you meant bored Muslim kids would do something like that. Sorry!