Teachers and school officials noticed a change in attitude in Bilal Hadfi. Hadfi, the youngest of the terrorists that attacked Paris, was 20-years-old and no longer cared about soccer, cigarettes, and girls. His focus turned to radical Islam and jihad. An email on April 27 from the Belgian’s school’s director, Chris Pijpen, was sent to education official, Charles Huygens, and spoke about how Bilal had missed classes since February 24. Belgian school officials met with members of Hadfi’s family on March 23, where they told school officials that Bilal was “fed up” with school. The family said Bilal left for Morocco, but rumors suggested he was someplace else.
— The Peninsula (@PeninsulaQatar) December 26, 2015
The rumor mill around the school was running rampant with the fact that Hadfi had left for Syria in order to join ISIS. Pictures taken from Bilal’s Facebook page showed that he had changed his name to Abu Moudjahid al-Belgik and was seen posing in front of an ISIS flag. Another red flag appeared back in January when Bilal openly celebrated the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. A law in Belgium states that schools have to report any suspicions of terrorist activity from their students to the authorities. The teachers at the Belgium school failed to do so. Mr. Huygens claims that the reason he failed to alert authorities was because he had to go up his chain of command. Mr. Pijpen is shocked that authorities never came to the school.
“I was amazed that nothing happened. This was already after Charlie Hebdo and Verviers. You would expect some reaction. But then again, we’ve been asking for years for more support at our school, or the hiring of specialists, but never got any.”
It would appear that Hadfi’s problems began in February of 2014. Bilal was going through problems at home and was still trying to cope with the death of his father a few years prior. One of Bilal’s brothers is on record saying that Bilal began to use marijuana, skip school, and “hang out with the wrong friends.” Kasmi M’Hamed was a teacher at Hadfi’s school and gave an interview over the phone.
In the interview, M’Hamed spoke about the hostile verbiage that Bilal was using. After the Charlie Hebdo attack, Bilal said that they had it coming for making fun of Islam. He also would make remarks about the gay lifestyle and how his core beliefs conflicted with the way the school was portraying tolerance toward gays.
A former teacher of Bilal, Sara Stacino, claims that the school put together a file on Bilal shortly after the Paris attacks. The file included reports and evidence showing that Hadfi was radicalized. Stacino does not know why the reports were never passed on to the authorities, as is required by Belgium law.
Mr. Pijpen was suspended from the school with the reason being that he showed up late to a meeting. Pijpen believes that he was suspended so that the school could attempt to cover up their failure to act on the information that they had on Bilal Hadfi.
“The administration wanted to cover this up so they can move on.”
A spokesman for the teachers union, Frank Van de Vyver, shares the idea that Mr. Pijpen was suspended for a reason other than being late to a meeting. Van de Vyver says the school was “looking for a scapegoat that would divert attention from the fact that they did nothing with the very sensitive information they got.”
— TODAY (@TODAYonline) December 16, 2015
Bilal Hadfi was the suicide bomber who blew himself up outside of the Stade de France.
Do you think that the teachers at the school were intentionally covering up their information on Bilal Hadfi?
[Image Via AP Photo/Michael Probst, File]