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Brussels in Lockdown. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired November 23, 2015 - 15:00   ET



HALA GORANI, HOST: Tonight Europe's capital on lockdown.


GORANI: Brussels will remain at a standstill until at least Wednesday as security services pursue terror suspects. Their aim, to disrupt what may be

a major plot.

Plus, CNN goes to the front lines of the fight against ISIS just outside the extremists capital of Raqqa.

And Republican Presidential candidates (inaudible) controversy they are ratcheting up the rhetoric on Muslims and Syrian refugees. We'll have that

as well coming up.


GORANI: Hello everyone, I'm Hala Gorani, we're live from Paris and this is a special edition of the World Right Now.


GORANI: We begin this hour with breaking news right here in Paris. Police are telling us that an article resembling a suicide vest has been found in

a garbage can. This happened in the suburb of Montrouge.


GORANI: Police are telling us that the area has been sealed off right now and that analysis is under way to try to determine if it indeed contained

explosives. These are me preliminary findings right now. We are going to keep our eye of course on that. Found in a garbage can in Montrouge a

suburb of Paris.

Now, to the other developments across the border in Belgium. The country's Prime Minister says the terror threat there will remain at the highest

level that the country knows until next Monday. However there is a bit of an easing of the lockdown because on Wednesday the Prime Minister is saying

schools and the metro system could be reopening.

Meanwhile, one man arrested in raids Sunday in Belgium has been charged in relation to the Paris attack. Fredrick Pleitgen has more from a city on


FREDERICK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The EU's administrative capital under a defacto state of lockdown. Cops and soldiers

patrol through empty streets as the subway system, schools and many shops remain shut because of the terror alert. Many parents keeping their

children indoors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're trying to go out just in the mornings and with the shopping in the mornings and after that, -- after the night arrives we just

stay at home.

PLEITGEN: Belgian authorities continue to conduct raids hoping to catch Salah Abdeslam believed to have fled here after participating in the Paris

attacks but authorities are also trying to foil what the government believes could be an imminent terror plot

Many business owners are shutting down heeding the government's advice to prevent larger gatherings of people which could be vulnerable to attack.

The police and the military certainly are making their presence felt here on the streets of Belgium's capital. There are military vehicles patrolling

the area and also soldiers on the ground standing guard especially in places that are highly frequented by tourists.

Management of the AB Concert Hall has decided to cancel all shows for the entire week. Also because a music hall was one of the venues hit by

terrorists in the Paris attacks the man in charge says.

DIRK DE CLIPPELEIR, MANAGER, AB CONCERT HALL: We shouldn't take any risks. Not for the public, not for the people who work here, not for the artists


PLEITGEN: Soldiers on the streets of a European capital, unthinkable for most only a few weeks ago but now a harsh reality for the residents of

Brussels who are carrying on as best they can hoping the scare will end soon.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Brussels.


GORANI: Remarkable scenes there from Brussels. Let's go to Nima Elbagir she joins me from there right now.

Nima, what do we know about this individual arrested on Sunday that authorities say is arrested on suspicion of being connected to the Paris


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as it stands, Hala, that's pretty much the only information authorities are willing to hand out

and that's in keeping with a real porosity of communication on the part of the Belgian government in terms of the investigation, in terms of the

findings of the investigation.


ELBAGIR: And they're blunt about the reasons behind that. They say that they are trying to stay one step ahead of a very serious and a very

imminent threat and they don't want to give out anything that could possibly be of use of some of those people they believe are still out


What we do know is that this is in connection to the Paris attacks, this in connection to the closing in of the net around the broader network that

they believe supported the Paris attacks. But as of yet, they haven't confirmed whether this heightened terror threat level is purely just about

or if it is indeed a fully realized cycle -- circle of Salah Abdeslam's known associates, the broader networks that supported him. But also whether

that broader network is part of this threat and this possible attack that the Belgian authorities are concerned about, Hala.


GORANI: Nima Elbagir, live in Brussels, thanks very much we will keep in touch with you for more on this developing story.


GORANI: Now the unprecedented scenes on the streets of Brussels in the last few days, well those have shined a light on the problem that Belgium faces

with Jihadi fighters who may go to Syria, who come back as well. To discuss this more I'm joined from Brussels, by Belgian Member of

Parliament, George Dallemagne.

Thanks sir for being with us. First I've got to ask you do you - I mean what is your understanding of what the threat is to justify a complete

lockdown of the capital of Belgium for several days in a row?

GEORGE DALLEMAGNE, BELGIAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: You know, we have never seen that since World War II, so this is very exceptional, this is very


Obviously our government has intelligence, information that the threat is very serious as we say it is imminent and might happen any time.


DALLEMAGNE: So that's why the government has decided to you know to stop the subways, to stop the schools, and to lock down more or less the city

but this is very exceptional of course.

GORANI: Is it your understanding that because the Prime Minister is announcing that some of this lockdown will be relaxed, in other words that

kids will be able to go to school, that the Metro might be reopened on Wednesday, that the threat is less right now in Belgium?

DALLEMAGNE: You know, the school will not open tomorrow. The school will open on Wednesday as well. So they will still be closed tomorrow.

What we hope is that there will be at least measured to secure more the subways, the open space, the shops and of course the school. That's the

measures that we are expecting from our government right now.

Or of course, arresting and stopping this terrorist. So that's something everybody is expecting here. We are all connected with social networks,

with television, radio, and expecting something to happen. Of course, we want those people to be arrested or at least our security to be increased

if these peoples are still free to move somewhere in Belgium.


GORANI: And Mr. Dallemagne, it's believed that the attacks in Paris may have been planned and at least some of the suspects are connected to a

Brussels suburb named Molenbeek.

You have thoughts about why in those particular neighborhoods some of these quite radical strains of thinking have taken hold, that it goes all the way

back to the '70s. Can you explain what your analysis is in particular of the suburb of Molenbeek there?

DALLEMAGNE: Yes, right. In fact, we - you know you have to understand that the Muslims, the vast majority of the Muslims here in Belgium arrived in

the late `70s -- '60s and early '70s.

They were coming from countries where they were practicing moderate Islam at that time, Morocco, Turkey. And they have been controlled by Imam

Preachers that were coming from the gulf, many from Saudi Arabia.

In fact Belgium, it was a time of the first oil shock -- the world shock in the early '70s. And to please the Saudi Belgium has given a huge building

in the very center of Brussels just nearby the European Parliament there, a few hundred meters away from here. And Saudi has transformed this building

into a huge Mosque and they have sent preachers, Imam, who were delivering very radical Islam and sometimes even Imam were delivering hatred speeches

and anti-western speeches, anti-human rights speeches. And we have let that go for a long period -

GORANI: So you're saying - yes.

DALLEMAGNE: In reference with human - with freedom of speech.

GORANI: Right. You're saying that some of that influence comes from abroad. Lastly I've got to ask you about the weapons here. Because it's been said

that in Belgium it's easier to get weapons on the black market than other European countries. What needs to change there for Belgium with regards to

the availability of some of these weapons from criminal gangs?

DALLEMAGNE: I think one of the problems we are facing in Belgium is that it's a very small country. It's very easy to cross the border to come from

Holland to Belgium and then to France. And it has always been a crossroad and a meeting point of Europe's.


DALLEMAGNE: What we have to do for the future is better controlling the external border of Europe and that's for people and also for weapons as



DALLEMAGNE: And I think for the future one of the key lessons we have to learn from that is that we need more Europe in terms of migration, in terms

of intelligence, in terms of security, in terms of defense.


DALLEMAGNE: And not less Europe as some member states are arguing today. So we need more cooperation especially for a small country like Belgium. You

know for terrorists, or jihadists, Belgium, France or Holland is the same playing field for them. So we have to better cooperate towards this huge

threat for us.

GORANI: All right, George Dallemagne, he's a Member of Parliament in Belgium, thanks very much for joining us.


GORANI: Coming up next we will avenge Paris. That's what one young Kurdish fighter told CNN's Nick Paton Walsh.


GORANI: We bring you - we bring you his exclusive report from the front lines on the fight against ISIS.





GORANI: France is using this new weapon in its fight against ISIS. It's now launching air strikes from the war ship Charles de Gaulle. The first

carrier launched missions bomb targets in Iraq around Ramadi and Mosul we're told.

France deployed the warship after the Paris attacks to increase its fire power against ISIS. It's been concentrating on the terrorists of the Kurd

capital of Raqqa in Syria.

Our Nick Paton Walsh recently visited the frontlines near Raqqa getting as close as possible. Kurdish forces are massing around this city preparing

for a major offensive there. Nick got an exclusive look at the battlefield and he joins me now live from Erbil in Iraq.

Nick, tell us what you saw.



NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, it is remarkable to see how close those Kurdish forces. And some American support

that have been operating have got towards the city of Raqqa. There is a lengthy plane of about 30 kilometers between them and where the city itself


But over the past months they have made steady progress along the west effectively cutting ISIS off from Turkish, the border with Turkey, a vital

supply route for them. And now massing with the hope they may soon move against the city.


WALSH: After Paris, the Sinai in the crosshairs is here. Raqqa, lost in the haze. Yet they can hear it. Loud thuds, heaviest at dusk. [ speaking

foreign language ]

Three days ago says (inaudible) we saw 14 air strikes suddenly hit just nearby. And then the French said they've started bombing. We'll do our best

to avenge Paris.

He like the other young Kurdish fighters here have lost friends but say fighting ISIS is a duty for humanity rather than vengeance as they man a

series of trenches and outposts about 20 miles from the city.

Well we have just heard distant thuds of what could have been two air strikes but from where we're standing here is the Kurdish frontline, and a

French dug, as far as we can see. And then all in this direction flat open land until you reach the outskirts of Raqqa, the capital of ISIS' self-

declared caliphate.

Four Russian missiles hit Raqqa. This day activists said but otherwise it's the silence of stalemate in the desert.

Weapons here are scant. This man carries the AK-47 of his friend who died 8 months ago. Out here in the flat open ground with ISIS in the next village

they still scorn ISIS' leaders and welcome help.

If French, Russian or American fighters this commander says come here to fight, we'll cooperate with them as we are all fighting to clean the area

of ISIS for humanity.

ISIS left their mark on nearby (inaudible) as has the fight for it. Even the mosque littered with mines.

The silence here is breathtaking. This is directly the road down to Raqqa and you can just hear the complete absence of human life. There is little

in victory left to fight for.

On the way out we meet these guys, they don't look much like white knights but that's what the Pentagon hopes they are. The Syrian democratic forces

getting American aid who explain they have secured the major defection of Sunni tribes inside Raqqa to fight ISIS.

We weren't expecting this large number to join but there are now 4,000 tribesmen he says. When we want to move, all of them are ready and we have

already managed to sneak weapons to them. We are moving forward.

Western leaders call this a global fight but here alone do you feel the dust, death and determination.


WALSH: You know Hala, still a volatile frontline. In the last 24 hours there have been clashes between ISIS and those YPG units. It seems ISIS is

trying to move towards the town of (inaudible) you saw in that report. But four coalition air strikes on Monday took out ISIS positions around.

It's still very much in the flux but I think they hope they can build the numbers perhaps with American assistance. We heard the suggestion the

Americans are already in evidence around Raqqa potentially to allow them to move forward in the months ahead. But still an aspirational goal, a

difficult call indeed. Hala.

GORANI: All right. Nick Paton Walsh with some exclusive reporting from Syria.

We're getting more details now on the apparent suicide vest that was found in a Paris suburb.


GORANI: Our affiliate BFVM says that that vest contained bolts and the explosive TATP. Now that to put it in context is the same type of explosive

found in suicide belts used by the terrorist attackers on November 13th.

It happened this time in the suburb of Montrouge, a bomb disposal team removed the article from the scene. As soon as we know more we will bring

you details on this developing story from Paris.

Coming up next.


GORANI: Mali begins three days of mourning for victims of Friday's attack on the Radisson hotel there.


GORANI: CNN's David McKenzie asks the President how his country will respond to what happened. Stay with us







GORANI: Welcome back. The President of Mali has told CNN that global solidarity is what is needed to defeat terrorism. He was speaking after

last week's attack on a hotel in the capital of Bamako. Now at least 20 people were killed in that assault as well as two attackers.

A witness says gunmen stormed in when -- while people were eating breakfast and shot anything that moved.

U.N. Forces are now patrolling the streets in Bamako after getting the government's approval. We'll have more on what happened in Mali, a little

bit later on CNN.


GORANI: Meantime the French President Francois Hollande is on a tour - a world tour so to speak. He's meeting with his counterparts in several

countries. He's trying basically to build support for an anti-ISIS coalition. Despite some major divides and disagreements by the way between

some countries.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, paid a visit to the French leader here in Paris earlier today and Mr. Hollande says the two nations

have joint obligations to stop the terrorist group.

Max Foster has our story.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The largest aircraft carrier in western Europe the Charles de Gaulle used to strike against ISIS. The

British Prime Minister stood shoulder to shoulder in his words with his French counterparts in Paris, at the scene of one of the attacks, the

Bataclan music hall. Then they got down to business. Cameron calling again on Britain's lawmakers to allow him to take parts in air strikes against

ISIS in Syria.

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I firmly support the action President Hollande has taken to strike ISIL in Syria . And it's my firm

conviction that Britain should do so too. Of course that will be a decision for parliament to make.

FOSTER: Cameron is now back in London to make his case. Whilst Hollande will take his message to President Obama at the White House before meeting

Chancellor Merkel on Wednesday and President Putin on Thursday.

Hollande is calling for a grand coalition of super powers against ISIS despite differences over the future of Syria's president. [speaking foreign

language ]

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: (As translated) the solution is to have a government of union in Syria and we know Bashar al Assad cannot be the

future. Therefore this seems to be the good formula and we have to act so all countries can find a political solution to Syria as well as strike


FOSTER: The U.S. led coalition has been bombing ISIS for more than a year. Russia joined the conflict in recent months. But U.S. officials contend

that Russians have mainly been targeting opponents of its ally President Bashar al Assad, not ISIS.


FOSTER: Obama says Putin needs to make a fundamental shift in his support to the Syrian President before joint action can be considered.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The question at this point is whether they can make the strategic adjustment that allows them to be

effective partners with us and the other 65 countries already who are already part of the counter-ISIL campaign. And we have don't know that yet.

FOSTER: Some analysts say there is potential for cooperation.

JULIEN THERON, POLITICAL SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF PARIS: Limited perhaps military intelligence sharing may be about to (inaudible) on certain

targets but perhaps not more than that.

FOSTER: President Hollande knows that for his proposed coalition to work he needs the key players, America and Russia to put aside their strategic

differences and find some practical way of working together.


Max Foster, CNN, the Elysee Palace in Paris.

GORANI: All right, still ahead, we'll have a lot more on that suicide vest that police say they found in a Paris suburb.

We'll also have more on the Brussels lockdown. It's been three days now and questions are being asked about Belgium's strategy against growing

extremism within its own boarders.


GORANI: I'll be speaking to an expert on that next. Stay with us, we'll be right back.







GORANI: Welcome back. A quick look at our top stories. An article resembling a suicide vest found in a garbage can in Paris. Now it happened

in the suburb of Montrouge, and our affiliate BFM says the article contains bolts and the explosives TATP, the same type of explosives found in the

suicide belts used by the Paris attackers. And CNN has not confirmed this information independently.

Also among the other stories we're following. Across France funerals are beginning to take place for those killed in the terror attacks on November

13th and all, 130 people died, more than 100 of them were French. The country will hold a national tribute to the victims on Friday in Paris.

Many of those injured are expected to attend that tribute.

In Argentina, it is the end of a political dynasty. The economically liberal but socially conservative Mauricio Macri will become the country's

next President after winning Sunday's runoff election.

Danielle (Scioli) Argentine President, Christina Fernandez (inaudible) handpicked successor conceded defeat late Sunday.

And the maker of Botox and Viagra are coming together. It is one of the biggest corporate deals in history. Listen to this price tag for those

two, $160 billion merger between Allergan and Pfizer will create the world's largest pharmaceutical giant. The merger still needs to be

approved by antitrust regulators.



GORANI: All right, let's bring you up to date on that apparent suicide vest that was found in a Paris suburb. I'm joined from New York by CNN terrorism

analyst, Paul Cruickshank.

All right so police are saying a device that appears to be a suicide vest. What are we to make of this and Montrouge in particular as the location?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Hi Hala, well I mean the big question is going to be is this the suicide vest that Salah Abdeslam was

tasked to use in the Paris attack, the eighth attacker who is now on the run and appears for some reason to have aborted his attack in Paris.


CRUICKSHANK: So investigators will be looking at that. Of course, there are all these other attackers who detonated their suicide vests but up until

now there's been this one missing suicide vest and there's been a lot of concern from authorities that Salah Abdeslam may have taken this vest with

him from Paris to Belgium potentially to Brussels when he was picked up by his friends.

One of his friends telling Belgium investigators that he had a very thick jacket on, and he was very nervous. Maybe had something like a suicide vest

underneath. Well if he abandoned (inaudible) his suicide vest in Paris that would be somewhat reassuring to investigators. But of course concern that

he could have weapons or access to weapons because there's a wider support network behind these attacks present in Brussels.

One other note about Montrouge is that as you'll remember, Hala, on the 8th of January during the Paris attacks at the beginning of the year, a French

female police officer was killed in Montrouge by (inaudible) by one of the attacker attackers, an ISIS inspired attacker who eventually launched that

attack the following day on the Kosher supermarket.

At the time there was some concern that very near the location there was a Jewish school and that (inaudible) may have been trying to target that when

he came across this French female police officer who he - who he killed at short range.

Not clear why this would have been (Jetterson) though at the Montrouge area by whoever (Jetterson's) the expect. What we are told from BFM T.V. is

that this contained TATP, the same explosive as in the other suicide vest. Also that it contained bolts which would have been shrapnel designed to

basically slice through people when it was detonated.

GORANI: Paul, I've got to ask you, I mean I'm not exactly sure how often garbage trucks empty garbage cans in Montrouge, but it's certainly more

often than every nine days. I mean if this indeed was thrown into a sort of public rubbish bin it wouldn't have - it wouldn't have happened on

November 13th. So I mean what does that - what does that tell us about what might have happened there if someone is actually discarding some sort of

explosive laden suicide vest you know in the last several days for instance?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, Hala, I mean that's an excellent point you make. I mean we don't know. You know maybe you know this was an particular area that

hadn't been emptied and it may have been Salah Abdeslam. But if it was a garbage bin that was regularly emptied and it was something therefore was

likely put there after he left Paris then that would raise other concerns about who else might have had a suicide vest.

I mean the idea that we have from French investigators is there was going to be a second wave attack from those people holed up in the Saint-Denis

safe house where you had that raid last week.



CRUICKSHANK: So possible that somebody else may have, jettisoned in, an attacker that we don't know too much about at this point. So they'll be

doing all sorts of forensics trying to establish who this belonged to and that will be a huge priority to French investigators right now.

Incidentally very dangerous for a TATP suicide vest to be left behind in a litter box essentially. This is a unstable volatile explosive. It can go

off just if the temperature rises too much, so if you touch it, shake it in the wrong way. So they will have sent in the bomb squad to try to

neutralize it. But a very dangerous situation in this area Montrouge area just outside Paris.

GORANI: All right, Paul Cruickshank,, appreciate it, thanks very much. Paul with the very latest on our breaking news.

Now Brussels is about to enter its fourth day on lockdown as authorities continue searching for a key suspect in the Paris attacks.


GORANI: Schools and the metro system are shut down at least until Wednesday today. This is really unprecedented since World War II. But many

are wondering how viable the threat really is to Belgium.

Jihadism expert, Asiem El-Difraoui is here to explain, He has worked with the French government on efforts to tackle radicalization. Asiem thanks for

being with us.

What do you make of this lockdown for several days in a row? This is a very extreme measure the government has taken.

ASIEM EL-DIFRAOUI, JIHADISM EXPERT: It's a very extremely measure. It's a measure of precaution obviously but it also shows the scale of the

implication of the Paris attacks you know. We all know by now that Belgium is some kind of hot bed for Jihadi terrorism, it has been for many years

and we have been warning about that. But at the same time, we get a real European dimension of these attacks. So the European capital is partly

paralyzed. I've been just coming back from Belgium and from Germany.


EL-DIFRAOUI: The Germans are in a state of fright, near to terror, even though they haven't been hit. So again, we should really try to calm down

everybody, because it's a difficult situation we shouldn't exaggerate, but obviously, the Belgium situation currently makes some European even more


GORANI: But the fact that they took this extreme measure means what to you? Means that they have what kind of intelligence? They're using words like

imminent and imminent threat and extreme imminent danger, that kind of thing.

EL-DIFRAOUI: It's hard to tell, so we know that there's some terrorists on the loose but maybe the Belgium government is also trying to make up for

failures for which it has been rightly blamed even before the attacks. So there might be kind of really reassuring in some ways the government is

reassuring itself that they're doing something. But this will be playing out in the next couple of days.

GORANI: And we heard from the Prime Minister you know schools will begin to reopen on Wednesday. The metro system will begin to reopen on Wednesday. So

I mean they're able to predict two days ahead of time that this lockdown situation will ease somewhat. So what should we read into that?

EL-DIFRAOUI: No but in some ways they might have had fears of certain cells. So I mean they arrested a lot of suspects of whom they didn't know

how dangerous they were. Some remain in custody.

So maybe in some ways they found out that these suspected terrorists were either arrested by now or less dangerous than they thought like some

radicalized elements notably in Molenbeek and in other areas of central Brussels.

GORANI: And let me - we're going to be speaking a little bit later in the program with someone who lived in Molenbeek for 10 years, this is the

suburb outside of Brussels where it is believed that at least some of this plot, November 13th plot was planned.

But let me ask you about one suspect that the Belgians said they arrested. That they say they believe is connected to the 13th of November attacks. I

mean, how close -- what are they looking for here in terms of someone in custody? This is precious human intelligence, if indeed it's the case.


EL-DIFRAOUII: If it's indeed the case, it's precious human intelligence. But everybody was suspecting that there were at least five, six dozen

people supporting in some way logistically the attacks. So it's not astonishing that they arrested somebody.

The most valuable piece of human intelligence though would be the person still at large. I mean we have seen the suicide vest which has been found

in France today. So if we get ahold of this person there will be really noticeable intelligence. But I suspect that over the coming weeks there

will be more arrests and people will really gain valuable intelligence.

Because personally I can't believe that those attackers in Paris have totally been acting alone, without real help from --

GORANI: It is believed there's definitely more of a network there. Asiem El-Difraoui, thanks very much for joining us. We really appreciate it.

We're going to take a quick break here on CNN. We'll be right back. Stay with us.







DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey

where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down, thousands of people were cheering. So something is going on.

We got to find out what it is.


GORANI: That is Donald Trump, the U.S. Republican Presidential candidate standing by those remarks that even the police in New York are saying are

inaccurate and lacking in evidence to back any of it up. He later said the cheering took place in areas with heavily Arabic populations.

Critics say it's part of a disturbing pattern of anti-Muslim rhetoric in the Presidential race. Candidate Ben Carson has also come under fire.

Listen to an analogy he made about some Syrian refugees.


BEN CARSON, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's a rabbit dog running around your neighborhood, you probably are not going to assume something

good about that dog and you're probably going to put your children out of the way. It doesn't mean that you hate all dogs by any stretch of the

imagination. But you're putting your intellect into motion and you're thinking how do I protect my children.


GORANI: Well, Ben Carson likened Syrian refugees to dogs, Donald Trump says America Muslims were cheering 9/11. Presidential contender Marco Rubio

meantime has released his first television ad it warns of a "civilizational struggle" with radical Islam.

Let's talk about all of this with CNN political analyst Josh Rogin. What's going on the political climate Josh that these types of statements are made

in the race for the White House?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well thanks Hala, ever since the Paris attacks on 11/13 the rhetoric and the - and the calls for broad policies

that would impact the entire Muslim population in the United States have only been increasing, a pivot point of course that was last week when the

house voted by a veto-proof majority to place severe restrictions on the resettlement of the Syrian refugees. But that turns out to only be the

beginning of the fight.


ROGIN: We're looking at months of congressional efforts to try to place even more restrictions on people from Syria and Iraq coming to the United

States. And in the meantime, the Presidential campaign has been overtaken by some of the more extreme proposals by people like Donald Trump.


ROGIN: We're talking about registries for all Muslims, surveillance of mosques without prior indication of criminal suspicion. And these policies

while not likely to be implicated have really raised a level of rhetoric against the Muslim communities that's caused a backlash especially amongst

democratic lawmakers and candidates.


GORANI: But Josh, explain to our international viewers is there actual support among the public for things like forcing America Muslims to

register in a national database which really conjures up the most frightening of historic images here in Europe. Is there support for that?

ROGIN: Well, unfortunately the initial polling has shown that the more drastic the rhetoric coming out of candidates like Donald Trump and Ben

Carson, the higher their poll numbers get. So that indicates there is a certain portion of the American voting population that's sympathetic to

these kinds of drastic and what opponents say are you know racist and bigoted proposals.

But the fact is that there's no likelihood that law enforcement or political leadership or congressional leadership will actually implement

these. So what we're seeing is all the bad results of proposing these policies. Sort of a demonization of Muslim communities and a backlash and a

real concern that overshadows what the people who are actually in office and charged with responding to the national security threats see as a very

serious debate about the balance between security and privacy.

GORANI: All right, Josh Rogin, thanks very much joining us from Washington. We'll be right back.

ROGIN: Any time.





GORANI: Welcome back. These images show Sunday night's raids in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek as we've been reporting.

Several of the men believed to have taken part in the Paris attacks had strong ties to this part of the city which remains in partial lockdown for

the fourth day.

Now before the attacks Molenbeek was little known outside of Belgium. The suburb is however now the focus of an international investigation. We've

been discussing Molenbeek quite a bit over the last several days.

But while headlines have been focusing on links to terrorism, what is life really like for the people who live there?

It's something photo journalist Teun Voeten, who lived there for nine years is trying to document. Life there he says was pretty tough and while many

residents were simply trying to get on with their lives. Teun has now spoken out about what's going on and the intimidation of individuals living

there he says.

Teun Voeten joins me now from Brussels. Teun, thanks for being with us.


GORANI: First of all, you lived in Molenbeek for nine years. What is it like there?

TEUN VOETEN, PHOTOJOURNALIST. Well, it's a pretty grim, depressing neighborhood with a very high rate of unemployment. A lot of petty street

crime and it is basically a very Islamic neighborhood.


VOETEN: During the nine years I was living there, I saw signs of increasing Islamization and radicalization.

GORANI: And why do you - why do you believe that Molenbeek changed? Because when you moved there you thought this is great, it's an up and coming

neighborhood. There are artist lofts, eventually this will - this whole area will (inaudible) it will change. But then you say you wrote in

political that it became increasingly conservative and Islamicized. Something you've written. Why do you think that happened?

VOETEN: Well, basically I have -- we lived a lot in New York, New York neighborhoods turn around. Molenbeek is a very static neighborhood, a very

high concentration of very poor immigrants. But basically Molenbeek became Jihad central for three reasons. It has a perfect infrastructure, a lot of

small streets, small mosques, tea houses, people can hide like gorillas in the jungle.

Then you have the Belgium government, which is actually a very weak central government of actually five governments in Belgium. And even the city of

Brussels has like 19 mayors. You have a lot of security services that don't cooperate. And then a lot of people have been pointing out that there were

a lot of problems with Islamic extremism in Muslim -- with Muslims in Molenbeek but they have been branded right wing extremists. So it was

always a taboo to address issues that immigrant population had in Molenbeek.


VOETEN: So that made - that made it possible that it has been festering for so long, for nearly 10, 20 years.

GORANI: So you left in 2014. You wrote that it's not because you were afraid, you said it was because you just were tired of the climate, the

social climate there. But one of the things you also said is that you lost friends, that people have - you've lost friends for expressing these views.

Tell us why.

VOETEN: Well, I spoke out and a lot of people accused me of being a racist which I'm not. And to repeat your point, I was never threatened there, I

did not feel insecure, but it was just basically a very grim, depressing neighborhood. For my work I work in war zones and when I come back I want

it to be a little bit more uplifting environment.

GORANI: But I guess I'm sure the critics, your critics say you're tarring everyone with the same brush.


GORANI: Molenbeek has 80 to 100,000 residents, certainly --

VOETEN: -- well it's like this --

GORANI: -- The crushing majority of them are not extremists radical Jihadists. So the fact that you're painting a picture of Molenbeek in this

way, is - I mean is that why they're critical of what you're saying or how you're saying?

VOETEN: I never - I never painted a picture that everybody in Molenbeek was extremists. But there is a very large undercurrent of extremists and we

should never forget there is also a large amount of desert support of the "Charlie Hebdo" attacks in Paris. It was impossible to put a (inaudible)

Charlie post on your window because your windows would be smashed.

And what I am saying is this problem has been made possible because (inaudible) support and you should never underestimate it and really I do

believe that 95% of people of Molenbeek are decent people.


VOETEN : But you only need the minority that can operate in the situation of lawlessness and cooperation with other elements in Molenbeek.

GORANI: All right. Teun Voeten, thanks very much for joining us from Brussels. We really appreciate your time.

Teun Voeten spent almost ten years living in Molenbeek, now the focus of a terrorism investigation. We appreciate you joining us this evening.


Many Belgians are responding to the terror alert in their capital not with fear but with defiance and dignity and with humor it has to be said.

So it's fitting that many have turned to something that encapsulates those qualities as a ways of expressing solidarity online, the cat.


GORANI: An outpouring or an outpurring again when the authorities asked social media users to stay quiet about counter-terror operations so as not

to help suspects and not wanting to let the cat out of the bag like this feline. The internet responded as only the internet can with cat

(inaudible) posted with the #brusselslockdown.

Some of the images might seem frivolous given how serious things are but the police themselves are thanking people and their cats for the response

because as ever cat lover knows, inside every cat is the spirit of a tiger.


GORANI: Don't forget you can get all the latest news, interviews and analysis from the show on my Facebook page.

Thanks for being with us, this has been The World Right Now, thanks for watching. Quest Means Business is next.