ISIS suicide bomber Najim Laachraoui’s brother will compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Mourad Laachraoui, whose older brother set off one of the bombs in the Belgium airport, secured a spot representing his country, after winning the European Taekwondo Championships last Friday in Switzerland.
The 21-year old athlete expressed his disappointment in his brother, Najim, saying he was “ashamed” and saddened by his brother’s actions, according to a report done by People Magazine. The Rio Olympic athlete Laachraoui, doesn’t want to remember his brother as a terrorist that took away 32 lives. His younger brother sees him in a completely different light.
“He was a nice boy, and above all he was clever, that’s what I remember of him.”
The brother of the ISIS suicide bomber also mentioned at a press conference, which took place after the Belgium attack, that his brother showed no signs of becoming radicalized. Though, Najim cut off all contact from his family and fleeing to Syria in 2013, according to a report done by Reuters.
The day Najim Laachraoui left for Syria, his family had yet to notice their son and brother had become radicalized. They were unsure of what inspired their son to suddenly flea to the middle east.
The ISIS suicide bomber’s family grew skeptical of their older son as time went on. In 2013, the family warned Belgium police and officials that their son had suddenly taken off to Syria, without explanation. It wasn’t until November of 2015 would police officials heed their warning. Belgium police and political officials conducted a search the family’s apartment after the 2015 Paris attacks, which killed over 128 victims. It was later discovered that Najim was under allegations for creating explosive belts for the various terror attacks that took place in Paris.
Mourad had previously told the press that he had never seen his older brother with Abdelhamid Abaaoud, another radicalized Belgium who was suspected for being a mastermind in the Brussels and Paris attacks.
ISIS suicide bomber Najim had a religious upbringing. Still, he had taken it to an extreme. Mourad made it a point to tell the media that he would “do everything possible to make sure his three younger siblings still at school do not become radical.”
The family’s lawyer, Philippe Culot had expressed that “Mourad and his whole family” were “crushed that Najim could have committed such a barbaric act.” Culot was also amazed by the difference in the two brothers.
“It’s crazy, really – the same parents, the same upbringing, and one turns out really well and the other really bad.”
Rio Olympic athlete, Mourad had previously said “You don’t choose your family,” referring to his brother after the initial attack in the Brussels airport.
The ISIS suicide bomber hadn’t always been associated with radicalized Islam. Prior to joining ISIS, Najim Laachraoui was a regular boy, who attended school in a Catholic high school in Brussels. Director of Institut de la Sainte Famille d’Helmet, Veronica Pellegrini commented on her former student.
“Najim Laachraoui was a very good student…He never failed a class.”
Since graduating from the institution in 2009, Pellegrini claims they have not heard from their former student.
Mourad wants nothing to do with his brother, whose DNA was discovered on a vest and a piece cloth at the Bataclan concert hall.
“I’m not trying to understand…I’m trying to move on and turn the page.
Mourad Laachraoui, the brother of one of the Brussels suicide bombers, to compete for Belgium at Olympic Games pic.twitter.com/KE2H3ZziAf— Nana Kwaku Agyemang (@kwasinom) May 22, 2016
[Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images]