Following the series of explosions at Brussels' Zavantem airport and a further explosion at the Maalbeek metro station yesterday, Social Policy's Chris Allen comments on events in Belgium in articles in the Huffington Post and the Toronto Star.

Chris writes:

"I woke to a text message yesterday that ominously read: Brussels. I knew it wasn't a good sign.

Logging onto the internet, news was breaking about a series of explosions at Brussels' Zavantem airport. Shortly after, further news broke about an explosion at Brussels' Maalbeek metro station.

Having been undertaking research in associated issues for more than sixteen years, while I continue to be shocked by the scale and level of the atrocities committed I'm rarely ever surprised by them. That sounds harsh, sorry. Worse though, I was even less surprised that there had been attacks in Belgium.

A quick look at recent history in Belgium gives credence to this..."

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"... Since the Paris attacks, says Islamophobia and security policy expert Chris Allen of the University of Birmingham, European security services have changed course from preparing for massive 9/11-style attacks to “more chaotic, multiple, simultaneous attacks.”

But he warns, “what we get into is more intrusive policies — increased scrutiny and intrusion. The problem here is where to draw the line.”

Since the Paris attacks, the EU has opened a new Europol centre for anti-terrorist co-ordination, giving national security services quick access to information they need to disrupt terrorist threats and networks. It is also calling for closer inter-border co-operation and more trust and information-sharing between countries....

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In an article for ITV News, Dr Chris Allen says he fears ordinary muslims could be targeted as a result of heightened tensions.

"This morning’s attacks in Brussels will, like those in Paris and elsewhere before them, have ramifications in Britain especially for Muslim communities. As research shows, Islamophobic attacks against ordinary Muslims going about their everyday business sharply increase in the wake of terror atrocities. For communities that already feel scrutinised, heightened security and suspicion can increase tensions at a time when the need to get along with each other is ever more pressing."

Read the full article here.

You can also hear Chris's interview with Ulster FM Radio 'on fears of a backlash against Muslims after #Brussels and hear a recording of Chris's appearance on Talk Radio discussing with presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer the suicide bomb attacks on Brussels the previous day.

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