BELGIUM - In the past year, a few dozen Muslim youths have left Antwerp for Syria to take part in the war there. Why do young people from Antwerp risk their lives in a gruesome war thousands of kilometres away from home? In De Standaard, Janine Meijer examines the motives of Antwerp jihad fighters.

"I understand the young people leaving for Syria," says Fatima (18). The young Muslim woman from Antwerp was supervised by the De Touter relief agency in Berchem, because her surroundings were afraid she would become radicalised. "I understand that you don't want to live here anymore and that you are going to help other Muslim brothers in need. I myself am not planning to travel to Syria today. But I still feel little connection with this society. Every day I'm scolded and discriminated because of my faith. The more often I am taunted, the more I will withdraw. Faith offers me the security that I don't find in society. It's the only way to keep faith in the future."

Team members

Janine Meijer

Janine Meijer (°1974) is a Dutch freelance journalist. 

€ 6.750 allocated on 29/04/2013.

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.