A Belgian senator of Moroccan origin, known for her criticism of conservative traits within immigrant Muslim communities, has gone into hiding after receiving death threats, officials said Wednesday.
Mimount Bousakla, 32, contacted police after receiving threatening telephone calls last weekend, said a Socialist party official who asked not to be identified. Bousakla showed up for work at Parliament on Wednesday, but now lives at a secret location.
“She again received threats and now has round-the-clock police protection and has gone into hiding,” the official said.
Death threats are taken a lot more seriously since the slaying in the Netherlands two weeks ago of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a suspected Islamic radical. Van Gogh had produced a brief television movie highly critical of the treatment of women in Muslim families.
Bousakla last week criticized the Muslim executive, an umbrella group for Muslims in Belgium, for not condemning the attack. “Because of the murder of Theo van Gogh, the executive should have protested and called on the Muslims to criticize the attack. Instead it did nothing,” she was quoted as saying on her web site.
Over the weekend, an unknown caller threatened “to ritually slaughter her” and she took the threat seriously enough to warn police, the official said.
Two years ago, Bousakla wrote a book “Couscous with Belgian Fries” about the problems of being raised in between the Moroccan and Belgian cultures. She criticized forced marriages, the place of women in society and the role of men within the family.
The Socialist politician also has openly opposed perceived radical and fundamentalist influences in Belgian mosques.