Teachers at a Brussels school where 20-year-old Bilal Hadfi (one of the nine terrorists that carried out the deadly Paris attacks) attended allege that they tried to warn authorities that Hadfi had been radicalized. However, these warnings were ignored. According to a report from RT News, the director of Annessens-Funck school had warned officials of Hadfi’s radicalization, but the warning was not passed on, and the director ended up losing his job because of this. The issue is now being investigated by Belgian police.
Bilal Hadfi committed suicide by blowing himself up outside the national soccer stadium in Paris after he participated in the attacks that killed 130 people and injured dozens more.
According to a report from International Business Times, Hadfi’s teachers say they became concerned about his increasingly radical views, especially his comments over the January attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Teachers say he praised the Charlie Hebdo attack, which took place on January 7, saying the Frenchmen had failed to recognize warnings about disrespecting Islam, the report states.
Hadfi’s mother told Belgian television outlets that she felt guilty for not having been able to detect signs of radicalization with her son.
“I had the impression that he was going to explode any day, ” she was quoted as telling La Libre Belgique.
During a phone call home, Hadfi allegedly gave the following statement to his mother.
“I’m afraid you will die and go to hell because you live in a country of kuffar (non-believers).”
Chris Pijpen, the school’s director, contacted Hadfi’s parents after he learned that he had supposedly gone to Morocco. Pijpen felt something was amiss, so he decided to go to school officials with his concerns.
It was later learned that the young man left suddenly on February 15 to Syria without telling his family and instead faked a trip to Morocco to visit the grave of his father.
Pijpen made his superior, Charles Huygens, aware of the matter, but apparently Huygens didn’t take his warnings seriously.
“I expected that something would happen, some further action, at least someone from the administration that would come down to our school, or the police,” Pijpen was quoted as saying.
When questioned as to why Huygens didn’t notify police of Hadfi’s radicalization, he replied that he failed to do because by that time “it was already too late.”
Pijpen was suspended indefinitely by Huygens after it became known that Hadfi was involved in the Paris attack. Although the reason given for the suspension was because he was late to a meeting, Pijpen believes Huygens intended to place the blame on him.
As said in RT’s report, Frank Van de Vyver, a spokesman for the schoolteachers’ union, agreed with the assessment, and he told a news outlet that local education officials were “looking for a scapegoat that would divert attention from the fact that they did nothing with the very sensitive information they got.”
Meanwhile, the investigation into Hadfi continues and authorities are also questioning school staff for further details on him. According to the report, authorities are trying to establish any links Hadfi may have had with another Paris attacker, Salah Abdeslam, the only one of the suspected Paris attackers known to have survived. Abdeslam is still at large and an international search for the terrorist is currently taking place. He is believed to be hiding in or around Belgium.
[Image via Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images News]