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The „Belgian” Islam and the „French” Islam: urban phenomena / Brussels, a city managed by 19 distinct entities with quasi-medieval autonomy

Half of the young people live in families where multiple languages are spoken.

The city, with over a million inhabitants, is wealthy, but the population is poor. The average income is 1,000 euros per month, on the edge of poverty, below the national minimum wage which is nearly 1,500 euros. The poorest commune in both Brussels and all of Belgium is the central district of Saint-Josse, right next to the EU institutions. Whereas in other communes the population density is three times less than in Bucharest, in St-Josse, a commune of 1 km^2, the density is 23,000 inhabitants per km^2, comparable to Calcutta and Bombay. Of the 22,000 residents of Saint-Josse, 90% are immigrants. It’s a majority-Muslim commune, made up of Turks and Moroccans. The mayor is a Turkish socialist: Emir Kir.

St-Josse, Schaerbeek, and the central neighborhoods in general are the poorest region in all of Belgium. Following the model of many major American cities, the center is impoverished, while the suburbs are wealthy and affluent. Brussels is thus the opposite of typical European capitals like Amsterdam or Paris, where the center is prosperous and the suburbs are impoverished.

Urban Phenomena


The phenomenon of Islam in France should be viewed within the specific context of French republicanism and secularism.

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