In Belgium, multiple schools were set on fire following a campaign by extremists against sexual education.

Lors d’une manifestation devant le Parlement de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, à Bruxelles (Belgique), le 7 septembre 2023.

Eight schools have been set on fire or vandalized in Wallonia in recent days, and in at least six cases, a clear connection has been established with a campaign launched by radical religious groups, both Muslim and Catholic, as well as extremist and conspiracy theorists, against a course on relational, affective, and sexual education (EVAS) led by the Francophone Minister of Education, Caroline Désir (PS). “These fires are unacceptable acts of terrorism,” she commented during a visit on Friday, September 15, to one of the burned establishments near Charleroi.

Cela n’a pas empêché quelque 1 500 personnes de se rassembler dans le centre de Bruxelles, dimanche, avec un mot d’ordre : « Touchez pas à nos enfants ! » Dans une ambiance tendue, Radya Oulebsir, une militante musulmane, organisatrice autoproclamée de la protestation et Alain Escada, un dirigeant de l’association catholique traditionaliste Civitas, ont exigé l’abandon du cours. Sur plusieurs des établissements vandalisés, des slogans hostiles comme « No Evras, sinon les prochains, c’est vous » avaient été tagués par les incendiaires.

On Friday, the National Crisis Center stated that the counter-terrorism and intelligence services were closely monitoring the events. The federal police should come to the aid of local police in the affected areas, Charleroi and Liège. Contacts have also been made with foreign services since the hostile campaign spilled over the borders. In France, rapper Rohff has shared an anti-Evras petition in the name of fighting against “pedophilia and perversion”. Caroline Désir’s entourage considers it “astonishing”.

Intense campagne de désinformation

In a video posted on social media, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo expressed his deep shock on Thursday and emphasized that access to sexual education should not be questioned by anyone. The Evras project, officially endorsed on September 7th by a vote of the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, has sparked an intense campaign of misinformation on social media. However, it simply extends a course that has been taught since 2012, but whose organization was previously left to the discretion of school administrators. From now on, it will be mandatory for all students between the ages of 12 and 16, and will last a total of four hours.

Quelques centaines de personnes avaient déjà manifesté devant le siège de l’Assemblée, le jour du vote. Se référant à ce qu’elles avaient lu ou entendu, certaines parlaient d’« un guide satanique utile aux pédophiles » et réclamaient « de l’éducation, pas de la sexualité ».

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