(JTA) — Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan wrote on Facebook that Belgian officials may be part of a conspiracy to falsely present the Brussels Jewish museum shootings as anti-Semitic.
Tariq Ramadan, a Geneva-based lecturer on contemporary Islamic issues at Oxford University in Britain, speculated on Tuesday that the slaying of four people last week at the Jewish Museum of Belgium was a deliberate attack on Israeli secret agents.
Ramadan was for a time banned from entering the United States because of financial contributions he made to Hamas front organizations. Ramadan denied knowing that the charities were Hamas fronts, and the ban has been removed.
“The two tourists targeted in Brussels worked for the Israeli secret services,” Ramadan wrote, citing media reports.
“The [Belgian] government does not comment,” Ramadan wrote. “Coincidence. Is this a case of anti-Semitism or a maneuver to divert attention from the real motives of the executioners? We oppose all slaying of innocents and racism but at the same time, it’s time they stopped taking us for fools.”
An unidentified shooter killed two Israeli tourists, Emmanuel and Mira Riva, and two museum staffers, Alexandre Strens and Dominique Sabrier.
Belgian Interior Minister Joelle Milquet and French President Francois Hollande said they believed the attack was anti-Semitic.
On Monday, the Israeli daily Haaretz published an analysis on the shooting titled “The Brussels Jewish museum shooting: score-settling or coincidence?”
In it, columnist Amir Oren wrote that the two Israelis were former government employees. Emmanuel Riva worked as an accountant for the Ministry of Finance and Nativ, a government body that facilitates immigration from the former Soviet Union. His wife worked as an accountant for the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.
Oren suggested Mira Riva’s real employer was the Mossad, although another Israeli journalist known for his deep sources in the intelligence establishment, Yossi Melman, wrote in the Jerusalem Post that such a conclusion was purely speculative.
Oren wrote that “there was no reason for a hostile country like Iran or an enemy organization like Hezbollah to target either Riva in Brussels,” but added: “Still, perhaps the murder in Brussels was no ‘hate crime’ or ‘anti-Semitic attack’ but a deliberate assassination. This possible hypothesis is supported by the documentation of the killer’s actions. The cameras recorded what seems like professional score-settling.”
The footage shows a man removing an automatic rifle from a bag, entering the museum with it and then fleeing the scene on foot.
On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council issued a condemnation of the shootings, saying that the council’s 15 member states “strongly condemned all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, especially against an institution whose mission has always been to promote openness and tolerance.”
Following the attack, Antwerp police deployed a force of 200 police with automatic rifles around Jewish institutions, the Jewish Joods Actueel news site reported.
Local Jews on Thursday offered kosher cakes to some of the officers.