Malcolm Turnbull’s comments on the terror attacks in Brussels have been condemned as dangerous by Belgium’s ambassador to Australia.
Jean-Luc Bodon told ABC News on Thursday that blaming the Syrian refugee crisis for the carnage is “precisely what Isis wants”.
Speaking at the Lowy Institute on Wednesday, the Australian prime minister said Isis was taking advantage of Europe’s open internal borders and the influx of refugees from the war in Syria to wreak havoc.
“The attacks in Brussels are an unfortunate reminder of how Islamist extremism appears to have reached a crisis point in Europe,” he said.
“Governments are confronted by a perfect storm of failed or neglected integration, foreign fighters returning from Iraq and Syria, porous borders and intelligence and security apparatus, struggling to keep pace with the scope and breadth of the threat.
“For all intents and purposes there are no internal borders in Europe … and the external borders are difficult to manage.
“Recent intelligence indicates Isil is using the refugee crisis to send operatives into Europe.”
But Ambassador Bodon noted that the Belgian prime minister had asked people “not to blame one community because this is the worst thing that we could do and this is the most counterproductive”.
Mr Bodon warned against making “a confusion between terrorism and migration and between terrorism and Islam”.
“My view is that the terrorists who committed the latest attacks and in Paris and in Belgium are European-raised and born. Maybe from foreign origins, but they are Europeans,” he said.
“So it has nothing to do with the refugee crisis and I think that is the main danger to assimilate that.”
He insisted there were benefits to be gained by welcoming refugees, although he conceded that dealing with the huge Syrian migration posed a great challenge for his country.
“In the immigration flux you have, especially from Syria, a lot of people from the middle classes, educated people, people who had money, and who can be useful to the European economy, provided we manage to organise that flux and this is a challenge.”
IMAGE: Malcolm Turnbull speaks at the Lowy Institute (Getty Images)